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Drone will enable secure data collection

TOKYO >> A new small drone jointly developed by Japan’s government and private businesses provides the country with the ability to strengthen its data protection.

With China currently dominating the drone market, Japan is working to produce domestic models to keep secure data gathered in highly confidential situations. Chinese companies account for about 80% of the global market share for small drones, and information such as communications data, images and flight routes is often stored on Chinese servers via special apps, raising concerns over information leaks.

Released in December, Japan’s Soten drone measures 2 feet across and weighs almost 4 pounds. It was developed by Tokyo-­based startup ACSL, NTT Docomo and Yamaha Motor, in partnership with the government and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

Soten can fly for about 30 minutes and has a camera designed for maneuvering as well as photographing. It can fly even in strong winds of 33.5 mph.

Drones are used in a wide range of fields, including land surveys and the inspection of bridges, roads and other infrastructure. The Soten drone immediately encrypts its flight routes and the data it collects, and data is stored on domestic servers, features that are expected to prevent third parties from stealing data or hijacking the drone. Soten will be used for surveying remote islands in waters around Japan and conducting search operations in the event of a disaster.

Anticipating a halt or slowdown in the procurement of parts during the pandemic and other future disasters, Soten was made mostly from parts manufactured in Japan.

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