Chinese drone industry leader DJI has confirmed plans to build drones at a new production facility in California.
With concerns raised over DJI’s data security practices and the threat of a ban on the use of DJI products by US government agencies, Mario Rebello, the manufacturer’s VP of North American operations, has said “the time is right” for a move that will help the company meet federal requirements.
The news comes as DJI launch Government Edition, a secure drone solution designed for sensitive government missions, alongside a comprehensive rebuttal of claims made about DJI in a Senate hearing earlier this month.
DJI committed to investing in America
In a statement to TechCrunch, DJI confirmed that a new production facility in California will help as part of an application filed for compliance under the U.S. Trade Agreements Act.
As things stand, the law limits certain US government agency purchases to products made in the United States. The current political climate could soon see the waivers DJI’s government customers currently rely on increasingly difficult to come by.
The move would also follow significant investment DJI has already put into establishing an R&D center in Palo Alto.
DJI is committed to investing in America and providing U.S. government workers, first responders, and public servants with customized solutions that meet their unique security, safety, and procurement needs. As part of our long-term commitment to America that began in 2015 with our research and development facility located in Palo Alto, we are opening a new production facility in California and filing for compliance under the U.S. Trade Agreements Act. This new investment will expand DJI’s footprint in the U.S. so we can better serve our customers, create U.S. jobs, and strengthen the U.S. drone economy. We look forward to working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in its review of our application.” – DJI.
Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual – Made in the USA
It’s expected that DJI will assemble a large proportion of its Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual models at a repurposed plant in Cerritos, California, which was previously used for drone storage and distribution.
It remains to be seen whether shipping a portion of manufacturing operations will be enough to keep DJI in the US government’s good books.
Speaking to the New York Times, Rebello said, “We are getting caught up in geopolitical issues of the day. There is a lot of fear and hype, and a lot of it is not true and misleading.”
“We are going to be more proactive to make sure we are saying as much information as possible. We’ve planned to invest in America but right now the time is right.”