China-Made Hi-Tech 'Spy' Drones Seized In Bangalore

Ten drones that can fly at 6,000 metres with a half-kg payload and are equipped with an advanced satellite navigation system were seized from a passenger at Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, and last week. Experts warn that the high-end DJI Phantom-4 PRO drones can pose a serious security threat, and authorities have commenced a probe into the matter, conducting searches in Bangalore and Chennai following the seizure.

The China-made DJI Phantom-4 PRO is an intelligent vehicle that can act by itself upon finding obstacles and also comes equipped with an intelligent battery system, besides having an advanced satellite navigation system compatible with GPS and the Russian Global navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).

It can live-stream hi-definition images and videos -which can be recorded from as far as two kilometres -and can be geo-located from anywhere. Sources in the intelligence wing and scientists and experts working on India's national UAV program said that the specifications indicate the DJI Phantom-4 PRO is an ideal vehicle to carry out urban recce and surveillance missions. Besides, the fact that it can carry a payload adds to the threat perception.

What has caught experts' attention is that the drone has a “Tap-by-Use“ feature, which allows users to tap on an individual in a crowd on his screen and allowing the drone to lock and track the person.

“Such a machine certainly poses threats. The lock-and-track feature is especially dangerous when we speak of VIP movement. The height the drone can achieve is another concern. The machine is small and at its maximum height it won't even be visible unless we look for it specifically, “KRamachandra of the National Mission for Micro Air Vehicles (MAV) said.