Necessity & Innovation: Autel Drones on the Front Line
Many drones are designed for warfare. This one was not. The video posted on Facebook ended with an unforgettable pose. One man held an AK-style rifle, another made heart hands toward the camera, the man in the middle flashed a thumbs-up while holding an EVO II Pro in his other hand. The bright orange fuselage clashed with the Eastern European scenery and the men’s military gear. The drone was designed for civilian and law enforcement use, not Ukrainian special operations forces.
The drone was a donation from a private charity, a replacement for another EVO that had been lost on a previous operation. “This is one of the best civilian drones,” Timur Kobzar said in an interview with Ukranews. “Electronic warfare has little effect on it.”
Timur Kozbar is a volunteer working for the Igor Kononenko Charitable Foundation, which provides drones, optics, electronics, tires, and other supplies to Ukrainian military units.
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are playing a vital role in providing overwatch and reconnaissance for the military forces fighting against Russian-backed rebels in the Donetsk region.
SUAS are primarily used for surveillance and reconnaissance, according to Chinese news outlet Touiato. They’re used to scout enemy positions, track movements, and pinpoint the location of artillery positions. The article, published on January 26, 2022, featured Autel’s distinct orange drones, some covered with camouflage duct tape.
Private investors, businesses, and charities regularly provide all manner of supplies
and support to Ukrainian soldiers and militia groups. Last year, People’s Project, a
crowdfunding site, tweeted pictures of EVO II drones in Ukraine, mentioning that some models mounted with thermal imaging cameras were in use with special operations forces.
The frontline use of drones is driving a new wave of development and innovation on Ukraine’s homefront. When conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists broke out in 2014, Ukraine had no drones in its inventory.
“Ukraine has managed to punch above its military weight in the conflict by turning to its world-renowned aerospace industry,” wrote John Wendle in a 2018 Smithsonian article. “The battle space has become much more complex, pressuring basement gadgeteers to become increasingly innovative. They have begun to develop combat drones and tactics that surpass those found elsewhere in the world.”
The article also quoted a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army National Guard, sent to advise the Ukrainian command-and-control program. “In the last two years since this organization has been set up, they’ve rapidly advanced from using dirigibles or balloons to do reconnaissance to building their own UAV systems.”
About Autel Robotics
Autel Robotics is a team of industry professionals with a genuine passion for
technology and years of engineering experience. Since its founding in 2014, Autel
has always striven for customer-driven innovation and is continually working to raise
the industry standard for drones. The company’s headquarters is in Shenzhen, the
heart of China’s tech industry; it also has R&D bases around the world including
Seattle, Munich, and Silicon Valley.