Chinese company limits US drone use after White House crash

Photo obtained January 26, 2014, from US Secret Service shows a smal drone that crash landed at the White House in Washington, D
Photo obtained January 26, 2014, from US Secret Service shows a smal drone that crash landed at the White House in Washington, DC

A Chinese drone maker which created the small quadcopter that recently crashed on White House grounds said Wednesday it is updating its drones to prohibit flight over the US capital.

The Shenzhen-based company DJI announced a software update for its "Phantom" series drone that will stop flight over all of the Washington area, spokesman Michael Perry said in an email.

The update will prohibit the from flying within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the capital.

GPS signals will determine the location of the drone and stop it from flying in the restricted areas.

The restricted use is based off of the Federal Aviation Administration's unmanned-flight guidelines for the area, the company said.

A government employee crashed one of the Phantom drones onto the White House lawn early in the morning Monday, causing a security scare for the President's protection service.

Civilian drone use has recently surged in popularity, presenting new regulatory headaches for states and the federal government.

"With the community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly," Perry said.


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Jan 28, 2015
Shhhoorrre thang gooood buddy! Right there is the next hacking target. Bet for sure that the quad copter spy drones that Chinese spies have will NOT be limited in anything! Not just for government spying either, industrial espionage has been around for...ever!!

Jan 28, 2015
The Phantom already doesn't allow users to fly near airports. I'm surprised that this wasn't already part of the no fly zones in the DJI Phantom 2. The other part of the problem is that most users don't already know where/when a quadcopter can fly. There are both local and federal rules that govern where a quadcopter can fly. However, most people are just unaware of them.

Jan 29, 2015
Quadcopters are becoming very popular with people that have no background in radio controlled aircraft. Most of the ready to fly quadcopter packages on the market today are sold through general retailers, rather than hobby shops, and require no skill to fly. Unfortunately, this means that many of these people have no exposure to anyone that could fill them in on the basic rules.

I have been flying quads for a few years now but do so within the local laws (not in the US). When I do demo flights for friends, many of them have a go at flying and some get interested enough to get their own quad. You can follow the rules and still have a lot of fun flying.

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