DJI draws attention to drone information tech

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At an event in Washington, DC, a panel of experts representing the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, airport operators and safety researchers discussed collaborative strategies for managing new concerns created by widespread drone use, reported sUAS News on Wednesday.

There appears to be interest in how best to achieve that fine balance between a technology that offers benefits yet at the same time presents risks if not managed properly.

On that note comes technology to identify and track drones. DJI's new AeroScope system acts like an "electronic license plate for drones," said reports on Wednesday. It has been designed to carry a beneficial effect in protecting against airspace where it would be dangerous for drones to operate. Malek Murison in DRONELIFE: "Authorities will be empowered to track rogue drones and enforce regulations more easily."

DJI, the company behind AeroScope, is also offering a Knowledge Quiz that helps ensure new drone pilots understand safe flight rules by requiring them to pass a safety test before flying.

How it works: There is a radio transmission between the drone and the remote control. David Lumb in Engadget said it "tracks drones via the radio transmission between them and their remote control. This gives the device everything it needs to know, from the UAV's location and speed to its registration or serial number, and even where it took off—and its operator's position."

DRONELIFE also reported that drones in sensitive areas can transmit their location, altitude, speed, direction, takeoff location, operator location, and an identifier such as a registration or serial number, to any AeroScope receiver within radio range.

The device can track UAVs in a five-kilometer radius. Ben Popper in The Verge: "An authorized customer, like a local sheriff's department, could use the Aeroscope to see any DJI drone within a five-kilometer radius."

DJI appears confident there is a way to achieve good safety measures as drones increase in numbers.

"There are more than twice as many drones as traditional aircraft in America today, and we believe technology and education are the best tools to maintain and improve their admirable safety record as the number of drones continues to grow," said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs.

The company's press release quoted Schulman: "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."

DJI also has ushered in a Knowledge Quiz that is designed to help ensure that new drone pilots understand safe flight rules by requiring them to pass a safety test before flying.

The questions will appear in DJI GO 4, DJI's main flight app, which runs on smartphones and tablets connected to drone remote controllers, said Murison.

Also, sUAS News had details about the quiz. The Knowledge Quiz will be available in the U.S. in an update to the DJI GO 4 app at the end of the month. In its U.S. implementation, DJI pilots will address a list of nine questions. They need to answer them all correctly. "Pilots can continue answering new questions until they successfully pass the Knowledge Quiz," said the report.

Other countries will get the quiz in the near future, with questions customized for each country's rules and guidelines.

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