DJI, a maker of civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, said it has strengthened its role in drone industry safety by committing to install airplane and helicopter detectors in new consumer drones. The move is part of a 10-point plan to ensure the world’s skies remain safe in the drone era, the company said.
All new DJI drone models released after January 1, 2020 that weigh more than 250 grams will include AirSense technology, which receives ADS-B signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters and warns drone pilots if they appear to be on a collision course. The company says this will be the largest single deployment of ADS-B collision awareness technology to date, and sets a new standard by putting professional-grade aviation safety technology in drones available to everyone.
AirSense can detect airplanes and helicopters from miles away, farther than a drone pilot can hear or see them, and displays their locations on the screen of the pilot’s remote controller. It has previously been available only on some professional-grade DJI drones.
According to the company, DJI’s AirSense commitment is the first of 10 points in “Elevating Safety,” its new plan for how DJI, other drone manufacturers, and government officials around the world can maintain drones’ admirable safety record.
The 10 points are:
DJI will install ADS-B receivers in all new drones above 250 grams
DJI will develop a new automatic warning for drone pilots flying at extended distances
DJI will establish an internal Safety Standards Group to meet regulatory and customer expectations
Aviation industry groups must develop standards for reporting drone incidents
All drone manufacturers should install geofencing and remote identification
Governments must require remote identification
Governments must require a user-friendly knowledge test for new drone pilots
Governments must clearly designate sensitive restriction areas
Local authorities must be allowed to respond to drone threats that are clear and serious
Governments must increase enforcement of laws against unsafe drone operation
The company continued, stating “Elevating Safety” is based on a comprehensive evaluation of available drone safety data, which concludes that most drone incident data collected by government regulators is misleading or useless, and shows that many media accounts of midair drone incidents are false or unproven.
“When the public, media and regulators focus on outrageous incidents that did not occur, it draws attention away from risks that are less sensational but more prevalent,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI vice president for Policy & Legal Affairs.. “There has never been a confirmed collision between a drone and an airplane, but drones have struck low-flying helicopters at least twice. This led us to focus on AirSense as the next opportunity to make drones safer, and to embrace the challenge of adding ADS-B receivers to consumer drone models that are already in development.”
DJI’s schedule to add the ADS-B receivers aligns with the FAA’s upcoming requirement for essentially all airplanes and helicopters to be equipped with ADS-B transmitters in controlled airspace, starting January 1, 2020.