Drone maker DJI went to Washington, D.C., this week to demonstrate its new AeroScope technology, a system that it believes can be used by authorities to quickly identify and track down drones and their pilots.
At a meeting including representatives from the FAA and the NTSB, DJI described Aeroscope as “an electronic license plate for drones.” It adds data to the transmissions between a drone in flight and its remote controller including information location, altitude, speed, and operator location, as well as an identifying registration or serial number. The data can be read in real time by any AeroScope receiver within range of the signal.
DJI pointed out that the system works without any hardware modifications, and can be made to work with drones from other vendors as well as from DJI itself.
DJI’s move seemed intended to forestall any more draconian moves by government regulators, while still making concessions to recognized concerns about safety and privacy. “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,” said DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman in a prepared statement. “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.”
DJI set up an email address to field requiests for more information about AeroScope: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The company also debuted a new DJI Knowledge Quiz. DJI’s main flight app for smartphones and tablets will now require drone pilots to answer a series of safety questions before taking their first flight. In the U.S., the list will include nine questions that must be answered correctly and will be implemented starting with an update to the DJI Go app later this month. It will show up in other countries, with customized questions and answers, “in the near future,” DJI said.