jwilton

Chinese drone security concerns

Recommended Posts

I’m very new to the drone world but am already seeing what a fluid situation the industry is in. With the DOI grounding all their Chinese made drones over security concerns, should I avoid buying DJI products? In favor of what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @jwilton

Welcome to the UAV Coach Community Forum! To answer your question, as a recreational or commercial operator, I would not be concerned. The Department of the Interior has grounded its fleet of drones over national security concerns. There has so far been nothing to indicate that the drones actually present a national security threat. This is a concern by the DOI that they have been investigating for months. 

I hope this helps and if you are looking for some guidance on which drone to buy; feel free to check out our 'Top Camera Drones' guide. 

Best,

 - Chase 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DOI is the last,  not the first, of 11 federal agencies that have either grounded or outright banned the use and procurement of Chinese manufactured drones. 

If your a hobbyist this is just noise, it’s  ot going to effect you.  If you plan on being a commercial operator you will be precluded from using DJI from any federally funded project or organization. 

Lots of DJI owners who this has not affected yet will tell you this doesn’t matter.  The ban has been in place and expanding since 2015.  It really depends on what you want to do commercially and who you want to do it for.  

If a small 4K camera will work for you then get a Skydio 2 and skip the whole mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! This looks like a great American made drone. I do plan to fly commercially but a lot of the companies seem to have software that only works with DJI drones. Don’t want to sink $$$ into a DJI drone that will limit who I can work for. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jwilton,

I was on the first list for the Skydio2, then finally realized I can't do commercial operations like waypoints. You are right, for now only DJI seems to have 3rd party developers that make software aside from DJI itself. The Skydio 2 looked great if you want to do Follow-Me or any action video. The Autel will be coming out but recently delayed as noted in one of the articles here due to a software glitch. I gave up my position in the Skydio 2 list and awaiting the release of the Autel. Currently, I fly a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. I hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if you get an "American-made" drone, most/all of the electronic components that make it actually worked are going to come from a foreign country. Most likely China.

Making a 100% Chinese free drone will be very hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, although true, that is only the hardware. The firmware will govern how it performs and controls the overall performance. So the Chinese are not actually playing a part of your concerns. The USA manufacturer writes the code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Drone360 said:

only DJI seems to have 3rd party developers that make software

Not quite.  The Skydio2 is a PX4 based system which means technically you can use MissionPlanner which is far superior to anything you can use on DJI.  

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ssobol said:

Even if you get an "American-made" drone, most/all of the electronic components that make it actually worked are going to come from a foreign country. Most likely China.

Making a 100% Chinese free drone will be very hard.

This appears to be the sentiment of people who don't really know much about the development of UAVs.  We have engineered out all of the Chinese and hobby grade components and manufacture over 95% of our UAV NOT in China.  About 75% in the US, some in Bulgaria, and occasionally some in Mexico.  

We don't sell our drones, however, I'm addressing the statement that its difficult to manufacture drones without Chines components.  Its not. 

DJI's flight controller was initially a "Clone" of OpenPilot.  Their collision avoidance is from Intel's RealSense technology and their camera's are knock offs from Sony and Panasonic camera's -which I would point out are Japanese, not Chinese.  

This is a video of test flying different configurations of the same drone, from 24 lbs AUW to 36 lbs AUW.  This 6S configuration can lift more weight as long as a DJI M600 which is 12S.  The 12S version of our drone can carry forty percent more weight, much longer than an M600.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRy9j41YLw8&t=9s

You can purchase the Alta line of UAVs from FreeFly;  All of the drones in these videos are (Chegan) 100% Chines free.  Futaba is manufactured in Huntsville AL and Japan.    

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DSaI8mbxS4

Both systems are PX4 based and obviously, if we sold our UAVs and the Alta-X costs more than the DJI.  Not as much as you might think when they are kitted out for the same job.  Plus we never have to worry whether it will arm, toilet bowl, the firmware is upgraded, or any of the other issues that you have to deal with from a DJI product.  

This video is just fun to watch.  Skip to 5:12 to get to the flying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO_I8LWmYqY

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/8/2020 at 11:16 AM, Captainzipper said:

Hi Chase,

Other than Skydio, can someone give me American made drones  that are less than $2 k but just as good as DJI's?

 

I'd rather buy American. 😁

I tried identifying the US made drone makers and none of them posted prices.  They wanted you to contact them for pricing.  Typical for the B2B market but frustrating for anyone trying to research.  Since they're not competing for the consumer market, my guess is their prices are closer to the 20k than 2k lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@captainzipper - check out Vision Aerial, manufactured in Montana.  A  company that works very hard at sourcing all parts from non-foreign suppliers wherever possible.

 

visionaerial.com

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve. Nice stuff. Unfortunately the type of work I do couldn't even come close to justifying their hardware. But glad to see the U.S.A. manufacturers popping up and hope the trend continue to grow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.