Last June, I posted about China-based drone manufacturer DJI shifting some drone production to America in order to manufacture US-spec drones to assuage fears China-made DJI drones could transmit sensitive US government data back to China.
Despite efforts by DJI, the US government agency, specifically the US Department of the Interior, has decided to ground their Chinese-made drone program. As a result, around 800 drones were grounded last October while a review evaluated the risks of using Chinese-made drones. This past week, government agencies decided to permanently cancel the drone program.
The drones were used by scientific teams to map terrain, survey land, monitor earthquakes and also used by rescue teams – such as the rescue of a victim of the volcanic explosion in Hawaii in 2018. Drones used to fight wild fires and rescue people are still allowed to operate.
Besides government agencies, the US Army has also banned troops from using DJI-made drones due to cyber-security concerns.
Government agencies claim drone use is cheaper and less risky – without drones, manned aircraft would have to be used.