DJI teams up with Axon to sell drones to cops
Tie-up comes amid scrutiny over police surveillance
DJI has already conquered the consumer drone market -- now it’s targeting the law enforcement segment.
The world’s biggest drone maker is partnering with Axon, a US-based company specializing in developing technology for law enforcement agencies, such as tasers and body cams.
Under a program called Axon Air, DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 1, and Matrice 210 will be available for police purchase -- to be used together with Evidence.com, Axon’s cloud data management system which also processes footage from body cameras.
Axon pointed to potential uses including natural disaster responses, search and rescue, crowd monitoring, and “next generation evidence collection.”
It’s the latest example of Axon trying to expand its product offerings with new technology.
Critics worry that technologies like facial recognition could make it easier for authorities to target lawful protesters, possibly violating citizens' constitutional rights.
Amazon also faced opposition from civil rights groups when it was reported that it had been selling facial recognition tools to police in Oregon and Orlando. Those groups feared the technology -- known as Rekognition -- could become tools for surveillance of minorities.
Meanwhile, DJI itself is no stranger to controversy: Last year the US military stopped using its drones, citing "cyber vulnerabilities". In response to the growing scrutiny, DJI commissioned an independent report that said any data it collected was only sent to servers in the US.