CHINA - Two drone bases will be established in Liaoning province to conduct surveillance of coastal waters, local authorities said on Saturday.
One of the bases will be built on a land reclamation lot in the coastal city of Yingkou and will monitor the Bohai Sea area. The other will be in Dalian city and will monitor parts of the Yellow Sea that are within the province's jurisdiction, Xinhua News Agency quoted officials from the provincial oceanic and fishing department as saying.
The drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, will rely on high-definition remote sensing, especially when responding quickly to emergencies. They can also be used to identify illegal land reclamations and sand dredging, as well as monitor marine environments along the coast and on islets, the report said.
About 5.5 million yuan (US$879,370. S$1,074,000) will be spent on the drone bases in the province. Three drones will be used to take aerial photos of important parts of the sea and of emergencies, according to the provincial oceanic and fishing department.
In August, the State Oceanic Administration announced plans to deploy the drones along China's coastline.
Eleven drone bases run by provincial maritime authorities will be built, Yu Qingsong, an official from the administration, said in August.
He said at least one drone will be stationed at each base. No further details about the project, such as the size of the bases or the schedule by which they will be built, were released.
A trial phase of the project began at the end of 2011, when the drones took aerial photos of a 980-square-kilometer section of the sea in Liaoning.
Another test on a drone-based 3D monitoring system was also conducted earlier this year by the maritime authority in East China's Jiangsu province.
According to the State Oceanic Administration, the use of pilotless aircraft in remote-sensing marine surveillance is relatively flexible, inexpensive and efficient compared with satellite remote sensing, aerial remote sensing and field monitoring.