US Government Adds Autel Robotics to Commerce Department Blacklist

The US has added drone manufacturer to its “entity list,” effectively blacklisting the company, according to a statement from lawmakers. This move subjects Autel to export restrictions and specific licensing requirements for certain technologies and goods.

Lawmakers' Push for Scrutiny

In November 2023, Chairman John Moolenaar (R-MI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) called for an investigation into Autel's activities. Following the Commerce Department's decision, they released a joint statement:

“Following our advocacy, the Commerce Department added malign Chinese controlled drone maker, Autel, to its government blacklist. No American should support companies like DJI and Autel that are arming Communist and have the ability to spy on American soil.”

Understanding the Entity List

The Entity List, maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), identifies foreign entities subject to specific licensing requirements for the export, reexport, and transfer of certain items. Autel's addition to this list will create hurdles for the company in obtaining necessary licenses for certain exports and transfers.

Autel's Response

Autel Robotics has emphasized its commitment to ethical practices and compliance with international regulations. The company stated, “Autel Robotics is firmly against the use of drone products for military purposes or any activities that infringe upon human rights.” They also clarified that their drones are designed for civilian use and not intended for military purposes.

Broader Context: The Countering CCP Drones Act

The lawmakers are pushing for further action, urging the Senate to pass the House-approved . This legislation aims to ban the introduction of new CCP-linked drones in American airspace and would add Chinese drone company DJI to the Federal Communications Commission's Covered List.

DroneXL's Take

The addition of Autel Robotics to the Commerce Department's entity list marks a significant escalation in the ongoing scrutiny of Chinese drone manufacturers. This move reflects growing concerns about potential security risks associated with foreign-made drones, particularly those with ties to China.

While the blacklisting of Autel is a notable development, it's important to consider the broader implications for the and international trade. As regulations tighten, we may see a shift in the global drone market, potentially opening opportunities for domestic manufacturers or those from deemed less risky.

However, it's crucial to balance security concerns with the need for technological advancement and fair competition in the drone industry. As the situation evolves, DroneXL will continue to monitor and report on these developments, providing context and analysis for our readers.


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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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