DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, Wednesday demonstrated two important new systems it has developed to help ensure drones remain a safe, secure and beneficial addition to America’s airspace.
DJI’s new AeroScope system acts like an “electronic license plate for drones” and provides a reliable way for authorities to identify and monitor airborne drones. DJI’s new Knowledge Quiz helps ensure new drone pilots understand safe flight rules by requiring them to pass a safety test before flying.
DJI demonstrated the new systems Wednesday at an event in Washington, D.C., to highlight how industry, government and drone pilots can work together to address the safety, security and privacy questions that drones have raised. A panel of experts representing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), airport operators and safety researchers discussed collaborative strategies for managing new concerns created by widespread drone use, while allowing society to reap the full benefits of the technology.
“There are more than twice as many drones as traditional aircraft in America today, and we believe technology and education are the best tools to maintain and improve their admirable safety record as the number of drones continues to grow,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs. “DJI’s new solutions put that belief into action, providing authorities with a way to identify drones in sensitive locations, and providing drone pilots a way to show they understand how to fly safely. We are excited to demonstrate these new systems and how they will make drones work better for everyone.”
All these steps build on DJI’s commitment to improving drone safety by developing innovative systems in consultation with regulators and other government officials. Rather than relying on regulatory restrictions alone, this collaborative process has encouraged the rapid adoption of beneficial safety technology for everyone
DJI AeroScope uses the existing communications radio transmission between a drone and its remote controller to enable authorities in responding to drones flying near sensitive locations such as airports or prisons, as well as to complaints about drones in other areas. Drones can transmit their location, altitude, speed, direction, takeoff location, operator location, and an identifier such as a registration or serial number, to any AeroScope receiver within radio range.
“AeroScope is designed to meet authorities’ legitimate needs concerning safety, security and privacy while also respecting the rights of people and businesses who use drones,” Schulman said. “DJI’s solution provides the information authorities need, while ensuring that flight data is only collected on the small number of drone flights that could raise concerns. The overwhelming majority of drone flights are safe, responsible, and uneventful, and we believe there is no reason for them to be centrally tracked and recorded nationwide. We also want to make sure that remote identification solutions are not burdensome or costly for our customers.”
This stream of data functions as an electronic license plate for drones, and real-time information about its flight is displayed on the AeroScope receiver. This function works with DJI drones, which comprise the majority of the market, and can also work with other manufacturers’ drones without any hardware modifications. Authorities can use this information to detect the presence of a drone, determine which drones merit further attention, and investigate drone operations that raise concerns.
AeroScope is available in both a fixed-site and portable version. For more information, contact [email protected].
Aviation authorities worldwide agree that educating drone pilots is the best way to enhance safety. DJI has responded by bringing safety education right to drone pilots’ hands. The new DJI Knowledge Quiz will require drone pilots to correctly answer a series of basic questions about safe drone use before their first flights. The questions will appear in DJI GO 4, DJI’s main flight app, which runs on smartphones and tablets connected to drone remote controllers.
“The evidence shows the overwhelming majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, thanks in part to a robust education effort led by aviation authorities as well as drone manufacturers and industry groups,” said Jon Resnick, DJI Policy Lead. “DJI sees the Knowledge Quiz as an extension of this effort, helping ensure drone pilots know basic safety rules. We are grateful to have collaborated with the FAA in designing the quiz to ensure pilots fly safely.”
In its U.S. implementation, all DJI pilots will be presented with a list of nine questions, and must correctly answer all of them in order to be able to fly. Pilots can continue answering new questions until they successfully pass the Knowledge Quiz. The Knowledge Quiz will initially be available in the U.S. in an update to the DJI GO 4 app at the end of October. It will be expanded to other countries in the near future, using questions customized for each country’s rules and guidelines.
Wednesday’s demonstration was the latest step in DJI’s long commitment to improving drone safety with technological and educational solutions:
- In 2014, DJI pioneered geofencing systems for its drones, using GPS position to warn or restrict drone pilots from entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns.
- In 2016, DJI upgraded its geofencing programming to include the capability for live updates of FAA temporary flight restrictions and other changing hazardous conditions such as wildfires, while also adding flexibility for drone pilots with authority to operate in those locations.
- DJI built automatic altitude limitations into its flight control apps to help pilots ensure they fly at safe altitudes. DJI developed sense-and-avoid systems for recent drone models, which use sensors to identify obstacles and either stop short of them or navigate around them.
- DJI created return-to-home systems which automatically guide a drone back to its takeoff point if it is low on battery or loses connection to its pilot.
- DJI invented intelligent battery systems to monitor available battery life and temperature in real time, maintain battery health, and warn of potential battery malfunctions before flight.
- DJI includes a flight simulator with its drone software, so new drone pilots can practice flying on a screen before trying it in reality.
- DJI has implemented the aviation industry standard ADS-B traffic awareness technology by installing receivers in its M200 series drones, giving drone pilots advance warning of nearby traditional aircraft equipped with ADS-B transmitters. DJI has committed to installing ADS-B receivers in additional products in the future.