Are Concerns Over Autel Robotics Drones Just Another Echo of Ongoing Suspicions?
Remember when Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd., aka DJI, dominated headlines as a supposed “threat”? They've been a fixture in every electronics store, representing the People's Republic of China's (PRC) stronghold on the U.S. drone market.
With over 90% of the U.S. hobby drone market in their pocket, DJI's influence was hard to deny. By December 2020, they found themselves on the U.S. entities list, signaling Washington's concern.
Now, in an almost predictable sequel, comes Autel Robotics, another rising star from the PRC. As of December 2021, their drones held 15% of the U.S. market share, aided by PRC government funding and tax incentives.
Their popularity even extends to American law enforcement agencies and departments like Agriculture.
But here's the recurring theme: “PRC drones pose an unacceptable national security risk because all Chinese companies, by law, must cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party government's foreign espionage efforts,” according to Defense News. This “threat” perspective paints a worrisome picture of data vulnerabilities and potential espionage.
Yet, one can't help but wonder: Why is the alarm Bell ringing so loudly for drones, but not for other Chinese-made tech products? Smartphones, laptops, televisions, and even electric vehicles – all embedded with advanced technology, all potentially vulnerable, and many originating from the same PRC.
Is the focus on drones, like with DJI and now Autel, a reflection of genuine concern, or is it a continuation of a biased perspective against specific products? After all, our living rooms, pockets, and driveways are filled with Chinese-manufactured technology.
If concerns are genuinely about Data Security, shouldn't the net be cast wider?
Perhaps, as the Chinese tech industry evolves and diversifies, it's time for a more comprehensive and consistent approach. One that doesn't single out one product while giving a pass to another.
The story feels all too familiar, but maybe it's time to change the narrative.
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