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

Company opens subsidiary in California, will offer small high-performance NDAA compliant drone to market.

Santa Clara, California – May 4, 2023, 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 Japanese drone maker in the country 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, the largest open source drone software company.

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 hotswappable 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 minutes1 and is weather resistant2. 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.

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1. Always fly your drone within visual line of sight unless otherwise permitted and check local laws and regulations in the region being operated.
2. This product has a dustproof and waterproof ability equivalent to class IP43. However, if rain or fog is observed or expected during flight, the flight should be canceled.