The US military has been using DJI Phantom drones in sneaking up to their enemies; those drones are similar to those found under Christmas trees and in drones hobbyists’ garages. these Chinese-made drones should just stop selling their drones to the military. The US military uses these commercial drones because of their low cost, the ease in flying them, and also their lack of maneuverability.
A leaked memo to a drone news website says that the Army’s Aviation Engineering Directorate has already “issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets.”
The U.S. military isn’t alone, either. The Israeli Defense Forces recently announced the purchase of DJI Mavic drones for the majority of its combat companies, while armed groups like ISIS and rebels in the Ukraine have been using commercial drones (very much against their manufacturers’ wishes) for a while now.
It’s good that the U.S. military is taking cybersecurity worries about commercial drones seriously, as the memo shows. But cybersecurity isn’t the only, or perhaps even the biggest, problem here. By using off-the-shelf devices, the military also risks their drones being confused with those used by other organizations and individuals and could potentially cause further damage to the already dubious public image of civilian drones operated for peaceful purposes.
Yet many people still assume that all drones are linked to the military—which means people are inclined to assume that even commercial drones flown by civilian operators are in some way linked to the military or law enforcement. Public mistrust of drones runs so deep that civilian drones are regularly shot at, putting people on the ground at risk. If the military adopts commercial drones in a big way, attitudes that link drones to the military will only grow stronger (and for good reason!). That could make it harder for groups like researchers, activists, search-and-rescue organizations, and others to put the technology to work.
I think the military really should not use commercial drones in the future. Well, what do you think about the US military using commercial drones?
Image from Slate