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Qi Juntong: “Efy” in Tianjin – Skyward Intelligent Manufacturing

 Campus

Qi Juntong is a professor at Tianjin University (TJU) as well as the founder of Efy Technology Ltd. His obsession with flying dates back to his childhood. 

“I dreamed of flying in the sky when I was young. However, my dream fell to pieces after I failed the ‘Pilot Election’ test when I was in high middle school. But I always kept the faith that the best way to realize my dream was to strive for it.” Professor Qi said. 

Therefore, Qi resolutely chose to study Flight Vehicle Design at university.  

“If there was no chance for me to fly aircraft, then I decided to grab the chance to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).”  

After the goal was set, Qi successively studied and worked at TJU and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).  

“When I was in CAS, with my team, I achieved lots of ‘firsts’ in the domestic UAV field such as the first to finish variable-rate UAV spraying in agricultural plant protection and the first to complete power transmission inspection using UAVs. We also successfully erected UHVDC transmission lines over the Haihe River, which was a world record for the longest wire erection in the UAV field.” With these achievements, Qi became the youngest CAS researcher and Ph.D. student supervisor when he was 31. 

But what influenced him most was neither the fame nor the honors, but an unforgettable experience.  

“In 2003, a terrible earthquake struck Ya’an. My team and I were fully aware of and well-prepared for the danger when heading to the disaster area with our equipment” Qi said.  

According to Qi, they used UAVs to collect data for the National Rescue Team to search and rescue victims. Over the next three days, aftershocks, landslides and storms at midnight constantly hit the team.  

“These didn’t stop us. When we saw the local people taking out their low-battery phones and recording their UAV heroes, all the exhaustion and fatigue disappeared. The more we saw, the more I felt we were not doing enough. We found that the numbers of UAVs were not big enough, flying time was not long enough and the technology not mature enough. At that time, I first felt the full responsibility of being a science and technology worker.” 

With this responsibility and sense of mission, in 2005 Qi started his own business to industrialize UAV technology on a larger scale. 

“One story, seven or eight pieces of apparatus, about a dozen workers, borrowed office space and 500 thousand RMB yuan represented my entrepreneurial ‘capital’ then” Qi recalled: “At that time, I was only obsessed with the application of UAV technology in the business domain. My desire was to benefit people with our technologies and let them experience technological advance.” 

After 4 years, Qi’s efforts paid off. Nowadays, Efy Technology has become a name card of high-tech in Tianjin and has a good reputation in the industrial and domestic markets.  

“In May last year, the World Intelligence Congress (WIC) held in Tianjin attracted the tech world’s attention. We used 400 UAVs to bring a cool show to the audience. A sense of pride rose in my heart when hearing the praise of experts and watching the pictures go viral on WeChat Moments.”  

Qi firmly believes that “In the beginning, I was inspired by the ‘Reform and Opening Up’ policy and ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ era; in the future, I will keep pace with reform and look to the world with my roots firmly placed in Tianjin. While enjoying the opportunities brought by Tianjin to develop intelligent and innovative enterprises, in turn, I will now take responsibility to strive for more opportunities for ‘Made-in-Tianjin’ products to march forward into an ever-wider world”. 

By: Deng Xiaoxuan
Editors: Sun Xiaofang and Ross Colquhoun