Global Times recently reported that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) just announced that its drone fleet is formally grounded. This is due to the fact that many of these drones use China made parts that potentially can be used for spying. However, exceptions can be granted if there is a natural disaster or another similar emergency. This is in fact an extension of an order from last year, which paused the use of the DOI drone fleet. Many analysts pointed out that the biggest party impacted will be the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, which is a big supplier to the DOI fleet. DJI later expressed deep regrets over this decision. It suggested that the decision was politically motivated so as to reduce DJI’s market share in order to support U.S. manufacturers. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the U.S. government to give up such an outdated cold war mentality. The DOI fleet has around 800 drones that were either made in China or made with Chinese parts.
Source: Global Times, January 31, 2020