The majority of DJI’s drones will include aeroplane and helicopter detectors to stop them intruding on flight paths from 2020.
Airport drone incidents drew widespread attention when a drone shut down Gatwick Airport in late 2018. The safety measure is called AirSense and will be rolled out on all new DJI drones weighing more than 250g .
AirSense can reportedly detect aeroplanes and helicopters from miles away. The location of detected aircraft will be shown on the remote controller of the drone user. The measure still requires action by the user as it simply notifies them of nearby aircraft.
AirSense technology uses ADS-B sensors. ADS-B sensors are currently used by aircraft and air traffic control towers. The sensors are what will enable new DJI drones to detect aeroplanes and helicopters that the drone user may not yet be able to see. The feature is not completely new – having been available on professional-grade DJI drones for some time.
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Prior to these new measures, the company did implement a significant safety update which would prevent users from flying near airports – rather than just warning them. The update added more effective geo-fencing – barring users from flying within airport space. The new Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) came to 32 countries and uses GPS and navigational satellite data to create no-fly zones.
DJI’s new detection sensors are part of a 10 point plan proposed by the company to be implemented industry-wide. The “Elevating Safety” plan includes standards like governments requiring knowledge tests for new drone pilots, increasing the enforcement of drone laws and mandatory geo-fencing for all drones.
Following the Gatwick drone incident in 2018, the UK government brought in new regulations to crack down on errant drone users. The laws made it illegal to fly a drone within a 3-mile radius of any UK airports. The changes implemented additional restrictions to the current set of UK drone laws.