The US Department of Defense has thoroughly tested DJI’s government drones, specifically the DJI Government Edition Mavic Pro and DJI Government Edition Matrice 600 Pro UAVs, and found that “the versions tested do not contain malicious code or intent and are recommended for use by government agencies and forces working with US services”.
The announcement is a significant step in the “complicated”, even hostile, relationship between the US government and the world’s largest drone manufacturer, which a few years ago went so far as to call for a ban on the use of DJI products, citing security concerns. However, a form of cooperation has been established in relation to drones for use by the government sector, with DJI developing its government platform in cooperation with the US Department of the Interior.
DJI has always maintained that their government and commercial platforms are secure, with no data being transferred from their products to DJI itself or to the Chinese government, nor has an audit by the consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton found evidence of security leaks. Based on this, DJI has consistently asked the US government to set specific safety standards rather than prohibiting the use of the technology based on country of origin, which they believe raises prices for consumers and limits innovation.
“This announcement by the US government is the strongest confirmation yet of what we and independent safety certifiers have been saying for years: DJI drones are safe for government and corporate operations,” said DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg.
As another dangerous wildfire season begins in the United States, the Pentagon’s report authorizing the use of DJI drones in government could help the Department of the Interior replenish its drone program, using its existing fleet to map, monitor and protect public lands.