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Massive DJI software update will stop drones ruining your holiday

Drone-maker DJI has introduced new safety tools it says will do more to prevent its range of UAVs being flown in the vicinity of European airports.

A new geo-fencing system creates a more effective no-drone zone around airports, as well as runway flight paths and other sensitive facilities.

The new Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0 system is rolling out in 32 countries (including 13 that have not benefitted from the system before) and uses a bow-tie shaped design to replace the existing circular no-fly zones.

The new design features specific designs for high–, medium-, and low-risk airports, with each offering enhanced warning zones for drone pilots.

Related: UK Drone laws explained

DJI is also launching temporary flight restrictions as part of its new safety revamp, which will be in effect beyond airports. These will come into effect during major events or natural disasters. In theory, they could be used to ground all drones in the event of them being spotted around airports.

Gatwick Airport, which suffered a crippling shutdown in December following reports of a drone flying within dangerous proximity to the runway, is among the airports to adopt the new GEO system. Here’s how the current GEO system looked, compared to the update.

“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,” says DJI head of policy Christian Struwe (via BBC). “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.”

The new GEO system uses GPS and navigational satellites and was developed by Altitude Angel, a British firm. DJI drone owners will begin spotting the changes in forthcoming app and software updates that will roll out later this month.

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