In a bid to maintain its foothold in the American market, leading Chinese drone manufacturer DJI forges partnerships and licensing deals with U.S.-based companies. This move comes as lawmakers push for legislation to ban Chinese-made drones from entering the due to national security concerns.

READ MORE: U.S. POLICE FAVOR DJI DRONES DESPITE WASHINGTON'S CRACKDOWN

DJI Partners with Anzu Robotics

DJI, which controls around 70% of the global commercial drone market and 80% of the U.S. market, has partnered with to license its technology for sale in the American market. In a conversation with The Hill, Randall Warnas, founder of Anzu Robotics and former DJI employee, confirmed the licensing agreement, stating that it was necessary to meet the changing “tide” of the moment.

READ MORE: DRONE INDUSTRY EXPERT JOHN MCBRIDE TALKS ABOUT THE DJI BAN

Dji Circumvents Potential U.s. Ban Through Partnerships And Licensing Deals

Cogito Tech Registers with FCC

Hong Kong-based Cogito Tech Company Limited registered through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August 2023 to sell drones in the United States. Experts note that two of its approved products, the Specta Air and Specta Mini, are nearly identical to DJI's drones.

READ MORE: HUGE SAVINGS IN DJI MID-YEAR SALE 2024: AIR 3, MINI 3, OSMO MOBILE ON DEEP DISCOUNT

Interestingly, according to The Hill, Cogito denies any connection with DJI, with a spokesperson stating,

“SPECTA is a proud independent innovator in the industry and has no relationship with other .”

DJI Circumvents Potential U.S. Ban Through Partnerships and Licensing Deals
On the left side, you see a drone, and on the right with the orange propellers, you see an identical drone, the Cogito Specta Air. Photo credits, Half Chrome.

Congressional Action Against Chinese Drones

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are leading the charge against Chinese drones in Congress. Stefanik has sponsored the Countering CCP Drones Act and the Drones for First Responders Act, which aim to ban DJI and impose tariffs on Chinese drones.

Rubio has made his stance clear, stating, “Any drone affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party should be on the Federal Communications Commission Covered List, regardless of which brand name it is sold under.”

Concerns Over Data Collection and National Security

The main concern surrounding Chinese drones is data collection, as they can actively gather information during flights. This has led to bans on Chinese-produced drones by state agencies in seven states. DJI and Autel have also been criticized for their links to the Chinese Communist Party, 's military, and their involvement in human rights abuses against the Uyghur population.

Impact on Consumers and U.S. Drone Industry

A blanket ban on Chinese drones could negatively impact consumers, law enforcement agencies, and fire departments that rely on affordable commercial drones. Haye Kesteloo, who founded DroneXL.co, believes that national security threats should be addressed, but not through a country-of-origin ban.

“They're using the threats of cybersecurity to go after Chinese-made drones. I think that is wrong if you use it in a way to eliminate competition,” he explained to The Hill.

Stefanik's legislation also seeks to support the struggling U.S. commercial by providing grant money to certain U.S. customers for purchasing secure drones. Michael Robbins, president and CEO of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), supports reasonable timelines for moving away from Chinese drones and creating demand for non-Chinese alternatives.

Dji Circumvents Potential U.s. Ban Through Partnerships And Licensing Deals - Revolutionary Dji Mavic 3 Pro Drone: Triple-Camera Aerial Mastery Unleashed
Classic and Mavic 3 Pro drones.

DroneXL's Take

The moves by Chinese drone maker DJI to circumvent potential U.S. bans through partnerships and licensing deals highlight the complexities of the global drone market. While national security concerns are valid, it is crucial to strike a balance between addressing these issues and fostering competition and innovation in the industry.

A blanket ban on Chinese drones based solely on country of origin could have unintended consequences, such as limiting consumer choice and hindering the work of who rely on affordable, high-quality drones. Instead, a more nuanced approach that focuses on and promoting the growth of the domestic drone industry may be more effective in the long run.

As the situation continues to evolve, DroneXL.co will keep a close eye on developments and provide updates on how these changes may impact the drone industry and its stakeholders.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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2 Comments

  1. Skydio had a lobbiest that now works for Stefonik who actually drafted the legislation. It has nothing to do with security. It’s protectionist, typical follow the money, government BS!

    I have long lamented the inability of US companies to make a prosumer drone that competes with DJI.

  2. Hey Congress—maybe pass a law forbidding China to buy land next to US military bases like they have in Montana and California…really worried about China? Get busy then.

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