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China’s dominant drone industry is a step ahead of Congress, partners with U.S. shell companies

franklinskite

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'Lawmakers in the House and Senate are pushing legislation to ban Chinese-made drones from entering the United States. But the leading Chinese companies manufacturing those drones are making moves to stay a step ahead of them.

One of China’s biggest drone makers, Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), is already partnering with a U.S.-based company Anzu Robotics to license its technology for sale in the American market.

Another firm, the 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 on drones say two of its drone products approved for sale in the U.S., the Specta Air and Specta Mini, are nearly identical to products produced by DJI.

The new businesses suggest China’s dominant drone companies are taking steps to make sure that their products reach U.S. consumers even if Congress does pass a ban similar to the one that just hit TikTok.

DJI, in a statement to The Hill, didn’t directly confirm a connection with Cogito or Anzu but said it frequently gets requests for collaboration.

“We will defer to these companies to provide specific details about our partnerships,” DJI said in the statement. “However, this approach aligns with our continuous and long-term dedication to making our flying platforms as adaptable as possible.”

 
I think we are going to come out pretty ok on the other side; however, the years 2024-2025 will likely be known as the "lost years" for the drone community. Excessive meddling caused all kinds of unwanted, unwelcome, unproductive, and unexpected activities. :(

Eventually let's just hope they soon turn their attention and the focus elsewhere and leave drones alone.
 
'Lawmakers in the House and Senate are pushing legislation to ban Chinese-made drones from entering the United States. But the leading Chinese companies manufacturing those drones are making moves to stay a step ahead of them.

One of China’s biggest drone makers, Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), is already partnering with a U.S.-based company Anzu Robotics to license its technology for sale in the American market.

Another firm, the 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 on drones say two of its drone products approved for sale in the U.S., the Specta Air and Specta Mini, are nearly identical to products produced by DJI.

The new businesses suggest China’s dominant drone companies are taking steps to make sure that their products reach U.S. consumers even if Congress does pass a ban similar to the one that just hit TikTok.

DJI, in a statement to The Hill, didn’t directly confirm a connection with Cogito or Anzu but said it frequently gets requests for collaboration.

“We will defer to these companies to provide specific details about our partnerships,” DJI said in the statement. “However, this approach aligns with our continuous and long-term dedication to making our flying platforms as adaptable as possible.”

to follow up on that...I won't post anything about Anzu because their prices are ridiculous right now, but

* Specta Air:

Amazon.com

What is the Cogito Specta Air Drone? Is it really the DJI Air 3? - Half Chrome Drones

it's basically the DJI Air 3. And the company is based in Hong Kong which the last I heard was part of China. Maybe the fact they are made in Malaysia will be enough to evade the DJI ban. Seems to be a bit of a risky assumption

LOL...they are even copying DJI in forcing the crappy RC down consumer's throats
 
Good
to follow up on that...I won't post anything about Anzu because their prices are ridiculous right now, but

* Specta Air:

Amazon.com

What is the Cogito Specta Air Drone? Is it really the DJI Air 3? - Half Chrome Drones

it's basically the DJI Air 3. And the company is based in Hong Kong which the last I heard was part of China. Maybe the fact they are made in Malaysia will be enough to evade the DJI ban. Seems to be a bit of a risky assumption

LOL...they are even copying DJI in forcing the crappy RC down consumer's throats
Good ol' American know-how, made in Hong Kong. Or is that China?
 
'Lawmakers in the House and Senate are pushing legislation to ban Chinese-made drones from entering the United States. But the leading Chinese companies manufacturing those drones are making moves to stay a step ahead of them.

One of China’s biggest drone makers, Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), is already partnering with a U.S.-based company Anzu Robotics to license its technology for sale in the American market.

Another firm, the 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 on drones say two of its drone products approved for sale in the U.S., the Specta Air and Specta Mini, are nearly identical to products produced by DJI.

The new businesses suggest China’s dominant drone companies are taking steps to make sure that their products reach U.S. consumers even if Congress does pass a ban similar to the one that just hit TikTok.

DJI, in a statement to The Hill, didn’t directly confirm a connection with Cogito or Anzu but said it frequently gets requests for collaboration.

“We will defer to these companies to provide specific details about our partnerships,” DJI said in the statement. “However, this approach aligns with our continuous and long-term dedication to making our flying platforms as adaptable as possible.”

Representative Stefanik already made a statement that drones using licensed DJI technology will not bypass her legislation.

“This desperate attempt to evade tariffs and sanctions is futile,” Ms. Stefanik said in a statement on Friday. “DJI and all of its shell companies will be held accountable.”
 
They will be "held accountable" for making great products. Truly a shame.
 
Unless DJI owners and other concerned parties make a lot of noise from the grassroots, before the worst happens, the worst is going to happen. It's curious to me that DJI is so quiet on the PR front about this, Sure, they're complaining about what might happen, and vaguely mentioning in passing that a lot of its customers are going to be upset. But they're certainly not instigating a public uprising.

Remember ten years or so back when the mayor of New York City tried to ban 32 oz sodas? The soda industry went berzerk with commercials and events complaining that The Man didn't think you're responsible enough to choose your own beverage. The Man backed down. There's so many examples of this in U.S. marketing history.

It seems like DJI has been thrown in a prickly briar patch, where the Chinese don't want to be accused of influencing, organizing or inciting the American public, especially in an election year, as it would only make their predicament with Congress worse.

So, bottom line, unless there's a spontaneous, homegrown American uprising telling Congress to shove it, expect the worst to happen. But don't imagine this can be straightened out down the road, after Congress acts, with comment letters to the FCC or the FAA.
 
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Hopefully, the House will bury the bill with enough amendments to keep it from passing the Senator or make it easy to be vetoed by the President. You can see the list of proposed amendments at FY25 NDAA Floor Amendment Tracker. Some "interesting" amendments have already passed a voice vote.

This round has DJI in the cross-hairs. If this were to knock DJI out of the US market, Skydio, I mean Representative Stefanik would next target other drone companies headquartered in China. Autel Robotics could be next.

If this passes, it will be a lot harder to remove DJI from the list.
 
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It become a joke that our representatives are so science stupid. Not one of them has explained how DJI is getting or using the pictures taken from our drones. The tracking data is of no value to them either. This in no way will stop Chinese espionage. Stupidity runs runs deep here, so much loss for absolutely no gain.
 
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My thoughts are DJI should do what any large gobal manufacturer of technology company does: Have a presence in the US Market. There are plenty US based companies that could buy DJI or a major interest. Building the drones under US regulatory control in the US. Components can come from anywhere that is globally cost effective. (this is a typical business model in US)

ANZU Robotics is taking the first step by licensing DJI designs however, that only covers a small precentage of DJI products. I would think the large majority of people that use DJI drones (for busness) in the US are not using the enterprise class products. To service this customer based you need someone with deep pockets and vision.

Just me thinking out loud.
 
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It become a joke that our representatives are so science stupid. Not one of them has explained how DJI is getting or using the pictures taken from our drones. The tracking data is of no value to them either. This in no way will stop Chinese espionage. Stupidity runs runs deep here, so much loss for absolutely no gain.

It has nothing to do with science. This is a political stunt during an election year.
 
It become a joke that our representatives are so science stupid. Not one of them has explained how DJI is getting or using the pictures taken from our drones. The tracking data is of no value to them either. This in no way will stop Chinese espionage. Stupidity runs runs deep here, so much loss for absolutely no gain.
I wonder how many of the congress critters have actually flown a DJI or any other make drone to see what they do. They prefer fear and ignorance to understanding the benefits drones provide to various parts of society. I also wonder why skydio is lobbying for this legislation since they are no longer making drones for the consumer market.
 
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One thing that DJI could do would be to open source the communications parts of their software. Allow other companies to supply the controller apps. That would eliminate the possibility of any data leaving the country.

They would provide a reference app with source code to any company that wants to write and sell their own controller app. Instead of setting up shell companies or affiliates like Anzu Robotics, you would just buy a DJI drone and then buy the app to control it.
 
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One thing that DJI could do would be to open source the communications parts of their software. Allow other companies to supply the controller apps. That would eliminate the possibility of any data leaving the country.

They would provide a reference app with source code to any company that wants to write and sell their own controller app. Instead of setting up shell companies or affiliates like Anzu Robotics, you would just buy a DJI drone and then buy the app to control it.
I'd be happy with Litchi for consumer use. Works fine on DJI drones and links to AirData seemlessly. There's got to be a simple solution to keep our birds flying.
 
Litchi works with my Phantoms and A2, maybe expanded use if DJI apps banned. Hopefully more options will be forthcoming. Strange days ahead
I've never used Litchi so I have no clue how it works

however, if the FCC licenses of all DJI drones are revoked, if Litchi's software is allowing people to violate the law I'd imagine Litchi will come under the microscope
 
I'd be happy with Litchi for consumer use. Works fine on DJI drones and links to AirData seemlessly. There's got to be a simple solution to keep our birds flying.
I thought Litchi also worked with the Mavic 2? Yes, if it becomes illegal, Litchi will have to pull the app. I don't update my iphone (jailbroken on ios 13.5). I don't update my dji app, or my quad's firmware. I have a few jailbroken go 4 apps.

I get messages in the app to update, which I ignore. (I'm worried if I'm forced to get new batteries I might be forced to update the quad's firmware? Does anyone no if this is true?)

When I fly, I fly in airplane made. Interestingly, last night when I opened my go 4 app while connected to the web, I got the message that flight data will no longer be required. So I put it in airplane mode and opened it again, and there was no message. I probably won't open the app while connected to the web again, until at least this blows over.
 
I've never used Litchi so I have no clue how it works

however, if the FCC licenses of all DJI drones are revoked, if Litchi's software is allowing people to violate the law I'd imagine Litchi will come under the microscope
Using Litchi doesn't resolve the FCC licenses being revoked. What Litchi or other 3rd party apps provide is a way to use drones with DJI having access to the data.
 

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