DJI, Chinese manufacturer of civilian drones, has introduced what it calls DJI Government Edition - a new drone solution created specifically for use in high-security situations by government agencies. DJI says that one of the unique features of their Government Edition is that its architecture ensures that the data and media that the drone will never leave the drone nor be shared with unauthorized parties, including not being transmitted to DJI.
What could also be attractive to some governments is that the Government Edition drones do not need DJI activation. The solution also comes with what is known as a drone detection platform.
"Rapidly identify UAV communication links, gathering telemetry data such as flight status, paths, and other information in real-time. This monitoring data stream helps users make an informed response as soon as possible."
Governments using drones
The announcement by DJI comes two weeks after Nigeria's army unveiled its plans to use drones for surveillance in its fight against kidnappings. What raised eyebrows with the drones the West African country was going to use is that they were out of production DJI Phantom 4 Pro drones.
With this new solution, DJI is likely targeting countries without the know-how and capacity to develop their own drones. The USA and some more developed countries invest a lot of money in to researching and developing their own drone technologies or equivalents. As such, this new offering by DJI coud be appealing to some African countries.
Drones and remote controllers running on DJI's Government Edition solution firmware will only be able to link with each other and are not compatible with other DJI products. Thus preventing the use of unsecure hardware and unauthorized third-party applications. This will likely also alleviate fears of DJI spying on them.
Other notable features are:
No Data Transmission – A permanently enabled Local Data Mode within the custom DJI Pilot application prevents data transfer from the mobile application over the internet to third parties or to DJI.
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Firmware Update Reviews – Government agency aviation and IT departments can review firmware updates in electronic isolation before applying them to their fleets, and have full control over how to validate them and when to install them on DJI drones.