Following a rise in the number of drone related incidents, which includes drones bringing two major UK airports to a standstill, DJI has announced it will introduce stronger safeguards to prevent such future fiascoes. DJI plans to install a more robust geofencing system, Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0 system, into its devices.
Using GPS and other navigational satellite signals, GEO 2.0 has been designed to create more effective No Fly Zones (NFZ) to prevent instances of drones entering restricted airspace around areas such as major events, prisons, nuclear power plants, and airports.
Developed by Altitude Angel, the new technology will create a 3D NFZ surrounding runway flight paths and other sensitive facilities. The new shape of the 3D NFZ will change from a circular pattern to a new bow-tie pattern, similar to those used in regular airspace charting.
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DJI collaborated with general aviation pilots through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and with airports through the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) to incorporate their expertise and guidance about air traffic and airports into the design of GEO 2.0.
GEO 2.0 will also be able to designate high, medium, and low-risk airports, which enables differing limitations in range and altitude, with each offering enhanced warning zones for drone pilots.
The system, which will be phased in from later this month, will be applied in 13 European countries already covered by DJI’s original geofencing system, and it will be rolled out in 19 countries that previously have no such safeguards in place.
DJI is also launching a new feature that enables temporary flight restrictions, which will be in effect beyond airports. This feature will become active during major events or natural disasters. It could, in theory, be used to ground all drones in the event of them being spotted around airports.
The company said that the new system more accurately reflected the safety risks posed near airports as well as allowing more flexibility for drone use in nearby areas.
DJI’s head of policy, Christian Struwe, said: “DJI is eager to ensure that safety remains the top priority as the European drone industry innovates new ways to use drones in exciting and productive ways.
“Introducing state-of-the-art safety features in even more countries will help the general public and drone operators alike.”
“European airspace management must accommodate advanced future operations, such as automated flight and flight beyond the operator’s line of sight, without imposing new burdens on recreational and professional drone pilots who have completed millions of safe and beneficial flights,” he added.
In addition to the new system, DJI has also changed its airspace data provider to improve the accuracy of its geospatial information, from Precision Hawk to AirMap.
DJI said that customers should update their flight control app and the aircraft software in order to receive the updates.
The decision by DJI is likely to be welcomed by the general UK public, as a recent report revealed that 75% of people thought drones would continue to pose a threat to national security, while the majority called for more drone regulation.
In response to the travel chaos caused by the drones at Gatwick and Heathrow airport earlier in the year, the UK government has announced that it will move forward with plans to empower police with new powers to more effectively handle drone misuse and abuse. DJI’s new system will help support this by restricting drone miscreants from entering restricted areas.