The manufacturer of the drone that crashed on the White House grounds earlier this week plans to install software in its devices that would prevent them from flying in Washington.
DJI, the China-based company that manufactures the quad-copter found at the White House, will install software in the coming weeks that will disable several models of its drones from flying over a 15.5-mile radius that spans downtown Washington, it said in a statement.
It said the restriction is part of a planned extension of the company’s no-fly zone system that prohibits flight near airports and other locations where such flights are restricted by local authorities, the company said in a statement released Wednesday.
“With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly,” said Michael Perry, DJI’s company spokesperson. “We will continue cooperating with regulators and lawmakers to ensure the skies stay safe and open for innovation.”
Perry said based on a photo provided by the Secret Service, it appears the White House drone was a DJI Phantom.
The drone, which the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency told the Associated Press was flown recreationally by one of their employees, was discovered by Secret Service officials early Monday morning. That employee voluntarily reached out to the Secret Service and has fully cooperated in the investigation, said agency officials.
President Obama and the first lady were in India on Monday, and their daughters were in Washington. White House officials have said that the incident posed no threat to the president or his family.
The Federal Aviation Administration has banned the use of commercial drones, though the agency is drafting proposed rules at the behest of Congress. However, a small number of companies – such as the film companies Aerial Mob and HeliVideo Productions — do have FAA exemptions to use drones.
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