ACSL, The Largest Japanese Drone Maker, Officially Enters US Market

ACSL Ltd. (ACSL) is pleased to share its official entrance into the United States commercial drone market. Founded in 2013 and based in Japan, ACSL is the largest drone maker in Japan and is publicly listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

It was chosen by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of Japan as its drone provider for disaster support and recently made headway as the first company in Japan to receive Class 1 UAS Type Certificate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). ACSL Inc. is the California subsidiary of ACSL Ltd. and will be offering a competitively priced NDAA-compliant small drone to the US market later this year.

The US drone industry is estimated to be the largest in the world, already surpassing $11 billion in valuation with 30% of that focused on commercial drone applications. The ACSL Inc. market entrance will be led by CEO, Cynthia Huang. Huang, a member of the Commercial UAV Advisory Board, previously led the North American Enterprise segment for DJI, the largest drone manufacturer in the world, and Auterion.

ACSL systems are the preferred domestic choice in its home country of Japan for their performance, reliability, security protocols, and overall ability to manufacture large quantities with consistency and
precision. ACSL has a diverse lineup of product offerings but plans to first offer their flagship fleet
drone, a small high-performance folding aircraft called the SOTEN, to the market. Shipping is expected in
late 2023.

“Japan is a country renowned for its manufacturing of premium technology and ACSL is no exception,” said Cynthia Huang, CEO of ACSL Inc. “There is immense attention to detail and very intentional product development that goes into each system. We are truly excited to bring the next generation of Japanese drone technology to the US market and offer new solutions to an industry looking for more options.”

In addition to opening a subsidiary and developing a US team, ACSL Inc. looks to work closely with US organizations to further refine the SOTEN product. This iterative R&D process will be led by Global CTO Chris Raabe, who previously worked at Boeing and holds a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Tokyo. The feedback collected will help determine what features and functionalities should be prioritized for future iterations of the product.

“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,” said Chris Raabe, Global CTO of ACSL. “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.”

The SOTEN was launched in late 2021 and has already seen thousands of deployments across Japanese government and enterprise customers. It was the first system of its kind to offer a hot-swappable camera system, making it a small but powerful drone that lends itself especially well to critical infrastructure inspections and disaster relief efforts. Made in Japan, the SOTEN follows the same strict security protocols as other ACSL products.

Collected photo and video data can be optionally encrypted before being recorded to the on-board memory card and communication between the drone and the controller is always encrypted.

ACSL has spent over a decade developing its proprietary flight controller from the ground up.

The result is a highly refined and feature rich autopilot that has received consistent praise for its flight characteristics and robustness. Powered by that flight controller is the SOTEN drone, which captures 20-megapixel photographs and 4K video using a 1-inch sensor and a mechanical shutter. The standard camera system can be hot-swapped with an EO/IR camera, multispectral camera, or an optical zoom camera. The estimated flight time is 25-29 minutes 1 and is weather resistant 2

Obstacle detection sensors are used on the front, bottom, and top and the drone comes with a variety of pre-set image capture modes. With the standard camera and battery, the SOTEN weighs 3.8lbs and its folding design and overall portability makes it a convenient option for a variety of enterprise use cases.

For potential customers interested in learning more and seeing the product first-hand, the company will be exhibiting at the Energy Drone & Robotics Summit in June in Houston, Texas and at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada in September.

SkyDrive Enters U.S. Market with Plans to Develop Practical Uses for eVTOLs and an AAM Ecosystem

urban air mobility in Vietnam, SkyDrive eVTOLSkyDrive Announces U.S. Market Entrance, Plans for AAM Ecosystem in South Carolina

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by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Today at the 2023 annual VFS eVTOL Symposium in Mesa, Arizona, leading Japanese eVTOL manufacturer SkyDrive announced its plans to enter the U.S. market and establish a base of operations in South Carolina, where it plans to develop an advanced air mobility ecosystem and implement practical uses for eVTOLs in the region.

The company was first invited to South Carolina last July by the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC). SkyDrive has been focused on assessing practical use cases originating from several of South Carolina’s major airports utilizing its SD-05 eVTOL aircraft. The company has decided to form a business infrastructure within the state, where it will work towards realizing an advanced air mobility ecosystem which will bring South Carolina to the forefront in its ability to support the commercial operations of eVTOL aircraft.

“The decision to make South Carolina our home base and our window into the U.S. market was an easy one considering that it is a significant player in both the commercial and military aviation industries, and it is home to more than 400 aerospace and aviation companies including Boeing and Lockheed Martin,” said SkyDrive Founder and CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa.  “I sincerely believe that the vast number of resources available in South Carolina will provide SkyDrive with a substantial platform that enables us to achieve our goals.”

South Carolina’s mild climate, abundant tourism, and airports close to city centers all make it the ideal fit for the use of SkyDrive’s SD-05 eVTOL aircraft. The state is also home to some of the most dynamic aerospace companies in the country, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. With a demonstrated ability to excel in advanced aerospace manufacturing, the state’s robust supply chain features companies such as SkyDrive supplier Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd.

“The future of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and vehicle industries is here, and South Carolina is proud to welcome SkyDrive, an industry innovator, to our rapidly growing aerospace cluster,” said Harry M. Lightsey III, Secretary of Commerce at the State of South Carolina Department of Commerce. “SkyDrive’s advanced electric propulsion technology and sustainable transportation implications are the perfect fit for South Carolina’s business roster and the state’s growing business development goals. South Carolina extends a warm welcome to SkyDrive and we look forward to supporting the company on its journey to continued growth and success.”

“CAE is very excited about the new possibilities being created in the environmentally friendly advanced air mobility industry and its potential to make a positive impact on our local community and beyond,” said Frank Murray, Director of Planning & Facilities at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). “CAE is making a concerted effort to contribute to this development by teaming with SkyDrive to model an FAA compliant advanced air mobility ecosystem with infrastructure requirements based on use cases for flights originating from our airport. CAE is really looking forward to working with SkyDrive and pioneering new possibilities together as we share a common vision of taking the lead in this once in a century mobility revolution.”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.