Excerpts from transcript of presentation of organisations working in the unmanned aerial systems sector
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
I have just been in another meeting with most of you, probably all of you, where you explained how things are done in our domestic UAV industry – a most important and highly promising industry for the nation.
My colleagues and I have just looked at a few figures, and the estimate was 500 billion rubles for the near future, but they immediately agreed with me that it was a very conservative estimate. Most likely, if we all join forces – including the government – the industry can easily reach one trillion rubles, as high as that.
This industry is not just of critical importance – it is also very interesting, because, firstly, it is our future, and secondly, the latest developments from various fields are concentrated here. Even more importantly, the applications for unmanned aerial vehicles are simply boundless – I cannot think of a single aspect of society or the economy where UAVs cannot be used.
Among other things, this technology can make any economy by far more competitive, and if we want structural changes – and we do – we certainly need to focus our efforts on developing this industry.
Our colleagues have just talked about the administrative barriers and other obstacles that are preventing us from moving forward. They are clear. What is not clear – well, I wanted to say it is not clear how to overcome them, but in fact, it is clear, too, as long as we have a common understanding that overcoming them is extremely important for the development of this industry.
Moscow is succeeding. I would like to thank the Moscow Mayor and his entire team for paying so much attention to this highly important area of our development.
I will be delighted to hear your thoughts again. Our colleagues from the Government, from the financial system, from the Executive Office are joining us online, so I hope that we will all work together today and will be able to come up with the solutions we need.
This concludes my opening remarks.
Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Sberbank German Gref: Mr President, I believe all the main problems have been mentioned. I do not think I want to add anything now, perhaps just one thing: control of video recording. Today this is a huge problem that hinders the development of the entire industry. Without digital maps and without the possibility of using simplified-mode recording, this is simply impossible for us.
We have studied the experience of many other countries: from China to Europe, the United States and India. The whole world is now on a path of confiscation of certain territories where recording is not allowed or the video recording of which is transferred to confirm that there is nothing prohibited there.
Today the same system is applied to aerial recording. If you give the instructions, we could work this out, make proposals, and amend the law.
Without this, it is impossible to move forward. These two problems hinder the development of the industry significantly. If we resolve these two problems – we are actively working on it now – I believe we will be doing everything we can to promote the industry’s development.
First of all, the main thing is to develop autonomous systems. Today the entire world is moving towards autonomisation, autonomisation of ground-based robotic systems and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Today, the development of artificial intelligence makes it possible to do this, but it requires a conjugated control system. This requires well-developed artificial intelligence, a digital map of the area and, of course, a good analysis system on board. In this case, we can make good progress.
We have so many excellent companies, including those present here, that it is a pleasure to work with them. I think we can take a big step forward.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, we have worked together for a long time. You know my approach to resolving such issues. Of course, security and secrecy must be ensured, but they must not hinder development. Above all, we must focus on development. And those who think about ensuring secrecy and security should ensure and think about how to ensure these most important areas of state activity: security and secrecy, but without interfering in development.
There are certain technological proposals for development, and they should be implemented. As they are implemented, we need to think about how to ensure both secrecy and security, but without interfering in development: this is what is important. This is a difficult objective sometimes, but we need to work and think like this, and not just ban something because it is secret. And to be honest, many things no longer have any secrecy, because thanks to large resolution – and our ill-wishers have high-level resolution technology – there is nothing secret left. And if something remains, you can, as you said, introduce certain bans on territories. But it seems to me that almost nothing should be banned here either.
In any case, we will think about this. Since you have the opportunity to bring proposals to me and to my colleagues in the Government where you worked, where you still have very good working contacts, please come up with these proposals.
Your colleague, an employee of yours, told me about this in some detail today. I generally agree with your approaches.
Andrei Potemkin: Will you allow me, Mr President?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, please.
Andrei Potemkin: Thank you very much.
Andrei Potemkin, Aviatelecominvest.
Today we have discussed the basic issues of monitoring and identifying unmanned aircraft. I would like to clarify a few aspects of this task.
Thanks to your decision, we achieved technological sovereignty in air navigation quite some time ago, about 15 years ago. These days, our country can boast a well-established industry in this area, and under the leadership of Almaz-Antey, we can not only compete with Western countries in a number of solutions but be even stronger in some things.
Monitoring systems are being implemented. International organisations accepted them with permits that expire in 2040 and beyond. This is a rather conservative niche in aviation, with technology changing slowly.
Similar systems are produced in Western countries, the United States, the European countries. Russia is the only manufacturer in the SCO and BRICS.
What do we have here in this country as of today? Since, due to external conditions, some of the air navigation service revenues were lost and the technology implementation rates in the air navigation industry are beginning to slow down, of course, we need your attention for the development issues of unmanned aviation in order to keep moving forward.
Second, in view of the current situation and the developing relations with Asian and other countries, I would like to propose these options for export because this technology is something we do well. Of course, your support would be extremely helpful to this industry.
Vladimir Putin: Are you proposing exporting it?
Andrei Potemkin: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: Certainly.
I met with my colleague from China recently and had a frank conversation about many issues. We agreed to complement each other, especially in high-tech industries, if either country makes significant progress. We agreed to share information, help with technology and market development. So, we will do this, don’t doubt it.
The Government should develop tools to support exports as well. We will spare no effort to make this happen. As you may be aware, there are certain Government agencies that engage in this matter.
I would like Mr Belousov to say a word or two about this.
First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov: By all means. We discuss UAVs, including exporting our products and importing the things we lack, during talks with our major focus partners, including China.
With regard to support tools, the Russian Export Centre boasts a fairly wide set of tools. I encourage our colleague to reach out, and I am willing to help get things going, including financial and non-financial support. We will do all that. I think the relevant missions will resolve this issue.
Vladimir Putin: I am sure our colleagues from friendly countries will be supportive of this. Unmanned aerial vehicles are not affected by African swine fever, and I am sure it will be much simpler than promoting pork in the Chinese market.
Andrei Potemkin: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Is there anything else, colleagues? Is that all?
I would like to thank you again for today's meeting which, I think, was very productive, especially since we are about to make certain decisions and adopt certain programmes.
Thank you for highlighting the priorities that need to be carefully reviewed in order for us to move forward.
To reiterate, this industry is critically important. Earlier in the meeting I said it is an exciting and greatly promising industry both from the perspective of the country's technological development and for ensuring our technological security and sovereignty, and from the business perspective. If this market is measured in one trillion rubles within the next few years, it means something.
Here is what I would like to say: the state has a stake in your success, and we will do our best to ensure this success.
Thank you very much.