A bill banning drones from China (CCP) operating in the US is progressing through the US house of representatives. It was introduced by Elise Stefanic (R-NY). The motivation appears to be to be in the interest of national security and to appear tough on China. The bill specifically mentions DJI, which is the manufacturer of the Mavic 3 Classic that I own. If passed, DJI drones would not be allowed to use US infrastructure, which will essentially mean they are banned in the US.

Federal agencies are already prohibited from using DJI drones. This new law would also extend to state and local agencies. Members of local law enforcement and other agencies have voiced opposition to the ban, so this may help to cause it not to pass.

The chances of anyone gaining useful information from an inspector is minimal. Here is how my drone and remote control work. Photos and videos are stored on the drone itself, either in limited onboard storage or a micro SD card. The drone is operated using a remote control, which does not store photos or video. If a drone is lost, the photos and videos are also lost. When the drone begins flight, any internet and Bluetooth connection for the remote control turns off. The drone is not able to connect directly to the internet, so it isn’t possible for someone to hack into my drone or remote control while in flight to see or download photos or video. The remote control can connect to the internet to download software updates. It requires a complicated menu of steps. It doesn’t happen automatically and isn’t something that happens by accidentally hitting a button on the remote control screen. To download photos, I connect the drone via cable to my laptop. The remote control isn’t turned on during this operation.

Since acquiring my drone in November 2022, I’ve used it 56 times on inspections. Probably 10-12 of those were where it was truly useful. The others were for practice after I inspected the roof with a ladder or I used it because I had it with me. My use is limited to about 60-70 feet in the air, always within the air space of the house being inspected and always within line of sight.

Given DJI’s large share of the market, many businesses would be impacted. For me, it would most likely mean not using a drone for inspections.