CEO Henri Seydoux declares end of Parrot’s consumer drones and offers to show audited software

Parrot’s co-founder and CEO, Henri Seydouxdeclares the end of Parrot’s consumer drones in an interview that was published earlier this month in Le Parisien. In the same article, Seydoux also offers to show that Parrot’s audited software applications do stand up to scrutiny.

Now, what I’d be interested to know is, did the French security researchers from Synacktiv, who we know worked for DJI’s competitors, work with Parrot directly or indirectly to scrutinizing DJI’s software? And will Parrot, as offered by Seydoux, have their software application reviewed as well by a security researcher to share the findings with the general public, similarly to what DJI did with the KIVU report more than two years ago? I’ll extend this invitation to Autel Robotics as well btw.

As regular readers of DroneXL.co will know, I am not a fan of Parrot’s anti-DJI marketing campaign to promote their new ANAFI USA. And if their CEO, Henri Seydoux is going to make bold claims like he has been doing, then I think he should back them up.

I am curious to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to share them in the comments below.

My French is a bit rusty but with help from Google, I’ve tried to translate the interview with Parrot’s CEO, Henri Seydoux as best as I could. See below for all the details.

CEO Henri Seydoux declares end of Parrot’s consumer drones

In Le Parisien: “Chinese drones should not be trusted, attacks the CEO of the French manufacturer Parrot”.

On the verge of supplying the American army, Henri Seydoux moves to the offensive against Made in China competition. An interview with a ruler on a crusade.

Slap on the table or a lobbying operation? On the occasion of the presentation of its new model, the Anafi USA, the boss of Parrot, Henri Seydoux, has stepped up this week to defend his vision: professional drones that are more respectful of the protection of data.

In the middle of a final sprint to supply the American army with a reconnaissance quadcopter, Parrot plays the confidentiality and cybersecurity card. Its CEO no longer hesitates to pound the competitor,
Chinese DJI, already sharply criticized in the United States by the Trump administration.

An aggressive strategy, but it’s fair game; the manufacturers of Shenzhen have usurped the global market for recreational and professional drones to the detriment of the Parisian company.

LP: The first step forward; Parrot will definitely stop producing drones for the general public. Has that page been turned?

HS: Yes it’s over, we only make drones for professionals. This decision is linked to the evolution of the consumer market, of which we were the pioneers. But that has been greatly diminished in size and commercial interest.

A drone that has the same technological level as an iPhone is more than just a Christmas present. It can be very useful in many professions such as mapping, agriculture, and rescue services.

LP: You were recently selected for a ‘Request for Proposal’ from the American army to provide them with reconnaissance drones but with the constraint of manufacturing the drones in the United States and not in China.

HS: We are indeed going to produce with our American partner Neotech in a factory near Boston. We must not believe that the production of electronics in the United States, which is more expensive, is such a major obstacle to development. There is added value in doing it, which is really expensive, it is not the manufacture but the design and the marketing of a drone.

LP: You have put all the ingredients, especially industrial, to obtain this big contract. What will happen if you don’t get it?

HS: We will soon deliver the final prototype for which we had obtained funding. Parrot has many customers and makes tens of millions of euros in sales. We would be happy to get that contract with the U.S. Amry but if we don’t, we would keep moving forward with our strategy.

We will begin to deliver a new drone, the ANAFI USA, which is intended for firefighters or police and will continue to be produced in the United States for sale to Canadian police or Brazilian border guards. It is aimed at all those who want a drone whose IT security we can guarantee.

Parrot ANAFI USA a new drone for first responders and professionals

LP: In the recent communication from Parrot about your ANAFI model, you were particularly hostile against Chinese drones, why?

HS: I think drones must be irreproachable in terms of cybersecurity, we are very careful about that. We can show in detail and have our software audited to all our customers. We put many mechanisms in our models to make them safer to use and protect videos, photos or GPS coordinates.

The data on the memory card is encrypted and we comply with the European data protection regulations, which are the most strict in the world.

LP: For what do you clearly blame your Chinese competitors?

HS: We also do not copy the data on our drones without the user’s permission… and we have very strong doubts that this is the case with the Chinese manufacturer, DJI.

We promise that unlike their technologies, our software is easily verifiable. We have looked at DJI’s various publications on the reliability of their products and we have serious doubts about their claims that the data is not copied to a server in China.

LP: However, many security forces in France use these Chinese drones for surveillance, which was still the case during confinement (Coronavirus lockdown).

HS: We believe that the authorities should be very careful with cybersecurity risks with the drones they buy. We have serious doubts and we communicate with the various administrations on what DJI drones do.

LP: What is the hesitation with the French authorities, why don’t they buy the ANAFI for example?

HS: We already have a lot of users in administrations, such as certain fire departments or the military who appreciate our model with the thermal camera. There is no particular hesitation.

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Photo: AFP/Noam Galai

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Haye Kesteloo

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