China’s leading drone makers, including DJI, have been funded by the country’s government and military, including the makers of the drones used to fight back Chongqing's wildfires. That’s led to a bipartisan consensus to root DJI drones out of federal fleets—and to approach other Chinese-made drones with caution. “The security risk has pretty much been assessed,” Alexandra Seymour, a technology and national security expert at the Center for a New American Security, told The Daily Beast. “We need to make sure that we’re protecting our data and not creating a vulnerability.”
Drone Amplified has since adapted its IGNIS systems for use with U.S.-made drones. But they cost more and take longer to set up than DJI drones, which come out of the box with integrated thermal camera and visual camera systems. “You have to build out more of it yourself,” Detweilier said. To mitigate security risks, his company previously wrote software that prevented DJI drones from sending external communications.