Why America Is Worried About DJI And Chinese Drones
Shenzhen-based DJI is the world’s leading producer of consumer drones. Since the drones they make are mostly flying computer systems that transfer geodata and can be accessed from another location, it’s hardly surprising that the business has come to the attention of America’s political class.
On June 10, Donald Trump said in a memo that “the domestic production capability for small unmanned aerial systems is vital to the national defense.” Last week, DJI talked about at a U.S. Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing. Reuters reports:
Senator Rick Scott, a Republican, asked at the hearing if Congress should outlaw the U.S. sale of Chinese-made drones.
” I believe we’re crazy to do business with the Chinese,” Scott said throughout the hearing. “We ought to be purchasing American products in every method we can … They are not our pal.”
Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, stated at the hearing that Americans who own Chinese-made drones are worried about specific personal privacy and security issues. “Chinese animate (drones) with their values, which are inconsistent with ours,” Markey said …
Harry Wingo, a faculty member at the National Defense University, told the Senate panel “the U.S. is over-reliant” on DJI, stating its market share may exceed 70% internationally … He recommended the issue “provides a nationwide threat, similar to that highlighted by President Trump in calling out the danger of using 5G equipment from Huawei in U.S. telecoms networks.”
In reaction, DJI the other day revealed “strategies to use a business storage facility in California to assemble them,” Reuters reports. The business said it “will assemble its Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drones in Cerritos, California, after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection identifies that the U.S. produced worth of its drones will certify under the U.S. Trade Agreements Act,” which ought to “make it much easier for some U.S. government firms to buy the drones.”
If I were DJI, I ‘d make another backup plan.