U.S. Army halts use of Chinese-made drones over cyber concerns

Updated 2017-08-05 10:35:14 CGTN/Agencies

The U.S. Army has ordered its members to stop using drones made by the world-leading SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd because of "cyber vulnerabilities" in the products.

Service members who use DJI drones and systems that use DJI components or software should "cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction," according to an Army memo posted online on Wednesday.

SZ DJI is a Chinese drone manufacturer based in south China's innovation-hub Shenzhen.

The memo said DJI drones are the most widely used by the Army among the off-the-shelf equipment of that type.

DJI said in a statement that it was "surprised and disappointed" at the Army's "unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision."

The company seeks to contact the Army to determine what it means by "cyber vulnerabilities" and wants to work with the Pentagon to address concerns.

DJI had about 70% share of the global commercial and consumer drone market, Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer estimated in 2016. Goldman analysts estimated the drone market, including military, to be worth more than 100 billion U.S. dollars over the next 5 years.

DJI's ability to produce high-quality drones has effectively knocked others out of the drone market. On August 1, a California-based drone company 3D Robotics (3DR) announced partnership with the Chinese company, equivalent of IBM partnering with Apple. Under the deal, 3DR would integrate site-scanning software and would give DJI drones its Site Scan technology.

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