A Japanese drone company, ACSL, has announced plans to throw its hat into the U.S. commercial drone market. The market entry announcement could not be more timely as many state legislatures this year have or are considering banning Chinese-made drones by state or local public safety agencies.

In October 2022, the Department of Defense labeled Chinese-made DJI, among others, as a Chinese military company, a designation that DJI denied. In the press release, the Department of Defense stated:

The Department is determined to highlight and counter the PRC Military-Civil Fusion strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise are acquired and developed by PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities.  Section 1260H directs the Department to begin identifying, among other things, Military-Civil Fusion contributors operating directly or indirectly in the United States. 

ACSL has been a major player in the Japanese drone market for the last ten years, and is seeking to take advantage of the void that will be left by DJI drones being banned in the public safety/government sector in many areas of the U.S. Skydio, a U.S.-based drone manufacturer is also seeking to take advantage of DJI’s ban. Skydio hit a $2.2 billion valuation in February, months after scoring several large government contracts.

According to the company’s website, the SOTEN, which has a similar look to the popular DJI Mavic, weighs less than four pounds (1,720g) and has a flight time ranging from 25-29 minutes. The drone features various swappable camera options, including infrared + visible camera (EO/IR), a multispectral camera, and an optical zoom camera, depending on the user’s needs.

The SOTEN has built-in Remote ID capability, but as of the writing of this article, the SOTEN is not listed as currently being compliant with the rule. The SOTEN features extensive scalability, including using LTE communications and offline maps for navigation.

Global CTO Chris Raab commented, “ACSL has been working hard to establish itself in its home market with a lineup that has consistently proven itself as a reliable tool that delivers results,” Raab further added,  “We began arranging product demos for potential US clients late last year. With the opening of our subsidiary here in California, I am making the US my base, to be personally involved in our activity in the field, meeting these clients, demonstrating our capabilities, and learning about their needs.”

Post Image- ACSL SOTEN Drone (Photo Credit: ACSL)

Sign up for a free C-UAS Hub Membership to bookmark your favorite content and receive the weekly newsletter and important industry updates!