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. Continue reading about the cyber security issues.