Chinese company limits US drone use after White House crash

Photo obtained January 26, 2014 from the US Secret Service shows a smal drone that crash landed at the White House in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/)

Washington (AFP) - A Chinese drone maker which created the small quadcopter that recently crashed on White House grounds said Wednesday it is updating its drones to prohibit flight over the US capital.

The Shenzhen-based company DJI announced a software update for its "Phantom" series drone that will stop flight over all of the Washington area, spokesman Michael Perry said in an email.

The update will prohibit the drones from flying within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the capital.

GPS signals will determine the location of the drone and stop it from flying in the restricted areas.

The restricted use is based off of the Federal Aviation Administration's unmanned-flight guidelines for the area, the company said.

A government employee crashed one of the Phantom drones onto the White House lawn early in the morning Monday, causing a security scare for the President's protection service.

Civilian drone use has recently surged in popularity, presenting new regulatory headaches for states and the federal government.

"With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly," Perry said.

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