The grounding is the latest precaution taken against Chinese drones being used in federal government work.
WASHINGTON — The Interior Department announced on Wednesday that all drones in its fleet that were manufactured in China or contained Chinese-made parts would be grounded as part of a review of the department’s drone program.
The decision will not apply to drones “currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property,” the department said.
In recent years, the department has enthusiastically embraced drones, publicizing the wide variety of ways it has deployed them. In addition to being deployed for emergency rescues and disaster monitoring, drones are used in more expansive, long-term projects such as geological surveys and wildlife population monitoring.
According to a 2018 report about its use of drones, the department owned 531 drones as of last year, and conducted more than 10,000 flights across 42 states and territories. The report did not specify what percentage of those drones were Chinese-made.