Following increased pressure to legislate drone use in the USA, DJI has announced new technology that will be able to restrict its drones from flying in certain locations

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DJI’s system, labelled Geospatial Environment Online (GEO), will provide drone users with up-to-the-minute information on which areas are subject to rules and restrictions related to the flying of drones.
This not only includes permanently off-limits areas like prisons but also areas that might be affected by an ongoing event, such as forest fires.

The technology will not only be able to warn users about these restrictions, but will even mean that by default the drone will be unable to take off in or fly into these locations. Users will be able to register for a DJI account and apply to have these restrictions lifted in some cases – this should also serve to provide some measure of accountability if a user then goes on to act irresponsibly. In short, DJI will know who flew their drone where.
‘DJI invented geofencing over two years ago and now continues its industry leadership by balancing enhanced safety with the flexibility of accountable self-authorization,’ said Brendan Schulman, DJI’s Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs, who led development of the new system.

‘We believe this major upgrade to our geofencing system will do even more to help operators understand their local flight environment, and to make smart, educated decisions about when and where to fly their drones.’
As DJI was recently announced as an industry consultant in the American Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration’s plans to create a drone registry, we might have expected the firm to start introducing these kinds of technologies.

Improper drone use has been in the news lately following publicised incidents involving amateur drone pilots compromising the activities of firefighting helicopters. The problem was deemed severe enough for the FAA to draft in an American football player to help spread its message of responsible drone use.

The system is due to launch first in North American and Europe, and will become available via a firmware update. Its currently slated for December.

What do you think? Sensible safety precaution or a step too far?