DJI has extended the ‘no-fly zone’ technology for its drones through the company’s app. It’s aimed at preventing drones from flying over stadiums, prisons, nuclear power plants and near airports.
The geo-fencing has been available since 2013, but now though the DJI GO app (used to control Phantom and Inspire drones), pilots will be prevented from flying through fully restricted zones, and given a notification when they enter a flagged or authorized zone. For this, a pilot can select one of two options stating you either have authorisation to fly in the location, or that you bear full responsibility for your flight. Warning zones may or may not appear on the map to provide advisory messages to users.
The application will give live updates to pilots with information about temporary flight restrictions (TFR) as well as permanent restrictions issued by the FAA. This would be especially useful for emergency services in instances where helicopters and aircraft are being used to monitor national security events or wildfires. However, the geo-fences can, in some cases, be ‘unlocked’ by users who have permission to operate in the area.
This announcement was only days before a Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was nearly hit by a drone on the Gold Coast in Australia. ABC reports that the drone was flying at the same height as the helicopter and came within 50 metres of the aircraft.
The new system is in place for North America and Western Europe, with DJI planning to expand the coverage. In order to take full advantage of DJI’s the update, owners will need to update both the app and the firmware for the control and the drone itself.