Tuesday in CE: U.S. Army Grounds DJI Drones Over Cybersecurity Concerns
In a memo obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army has ordered all units to discontinue their use of DJI built drones and other equipment. According to the memo, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found that there are “operational risks” associated with the Chinese manufacturers equipment. The decision was apparently made in reference to reports filed back in May that detailed cyber vulnerabilities of DJI products. It had been kept under wraps until early last week.
“We are surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army’s unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision, DJI PR Manager Michael Perry said in an email to sUAS News. “We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues. We’ll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by ‘cyber vulnerabilities.’”
The Army’s decision, which is reportedly still under review before becoming final, is a rather significant public relations blow to a company that has solidified itself as the GoPro of the drone industry. Recent estimates put DJI’s market share of drones priced between $500 and $1,000 around 36 percent. More impressive, they’ve secured roughly 67 percent of the market for drones priced between $1,000 and $4,000.
According to an earlier sUAS News report, by signing up for a DJI personal account consumers willingly provide details about themselves. And through a simple Google search, sUAS News discovered that the data mined by DJI from provided flights (photos and video, position, and flight logs) as well as audio. And all of that can be accessed without the users knowing consent.
— Engadget (@engadget) August 8, 2017
In other military-related drone announcements, the Pentagon has approved a new policy that will give military bases the right to shoot down or seize private and commercial unmanned aerial vehicles that get too close tot heir airspace and are deemed a threat.
The guidance was issued on August 4.
“Protecting our force remains a top priority, and that's why DoD issued the specific, but classified policy developed with the Federal Aviation Administration and our interagency partners that details how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement.
More CE News
- The future of drone delivery could hinge on more accurate hyper-local weather forecasts.
- Following up on its impressive Super Bowl drone display, Intel plans to make 300 drones dance during Singapore’s National Day Parade.
- Drones will provide more than just convenient deliveries and entertainment in the years to come. In fact, they’ll automate our future in a number of ways.