It sounds like a Hollywood script: an unmanned aircraft of Chinese origin evades secret service defences and lands on the White House lawn (it even recalls the plot of the the movie Olympus Has Fallen, in which a North Korean group were able to take over the presidential home).
But in this case it was more truth than fiction after a Chinese-made DJI Phantom drone was flown into the White House grounds in the middle of the night.
According to the New York Times, the drone struck a tree and then crashed onto the America’s best-known lawn. Turns out it was being flown by an off-duty government employee (who has not been named) and it was too small to be detected by the secret service’s radar.
Back in China its manufacturer DJI (for more on which, see WiC266) told the Global Times that it took no responsibility for the incident, blaming the owner, who it said was drunk. The company also pointed out that the owner had failed to install a firmware upgrade that it had sent to its customers intended to stop the drone from flying in “sensitive airspace”.
Meanwhile many netizens were viewing the incident in Washington as priceless publicity for DJI, which is now the world’s largest supplier of civilian drones.
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