Economy, Sci & Tech

Sharif University Hosts Drone Competition

Iranian students test their latest drone designs. Iranian students test their latest drone designs.

Sharif University of Technology in Tehran hosted the second Innovative UAV Design Competition on April 15 and 16 with dozens of flying machines displayed by students.

According to a report on the official website of the contest, 17 teams designed and  showcased the UAVs at the event.

UAVs or unmanned aircraft vehicle system — commonly known as drones — have a wide range of use, from military operations to firefighting and shooting aerial videos.

The contest was supported by the Presidential Office for Science and Technology, Ghods Aviation Industry and Hesa Aviation Manufacturing Company.

Forty teams from 27 universities registered their drone design proposals with the prestigious center of higher learning. Thirty projects were approved to fly by the organizers but only 17 teams were able to take off from the ground.

Iran's drone industry, although in its infancy has many fans, including online delivery companies like DigiKala, which was testing the devices last year as a cheaper and easier way to deliver parcels to customers in Tehran.

Drones are growing in popularity in the country with the average price of imported Chinese models costing as little as 2 million rials ($50).

The UAV global market is predicted to more than double over the next decade, from the current  $5.2 billion a year to $11.6 billion by 2023.

Currently defense applications are the main use of drones making up almost 89% of the overall market. Just 11% of the market is sold to the private sector and organizations involved in relief work.

According to India's Defense Production and Acquisition's report in early 2016, the UAV market in the Middle East was estimated to be 23% of total sales and production.

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