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July 18, 2017

DJI condemns unsafe drone flying

DJI, the world’s leader supplier of civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, has issued a press release in which the company condemns in the strongest possible terms a video posted by a drone user that records landing of aircraft at Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov airport. The user, Niv Stubenski, claims to have filmed the landings with a DJI Mavic Pro quadrocopter. DJI pointed lut the company stands ready to cooperate with lawful requests from governmental authorities as they investigate a recent wave of photos and videos showing clear and intentional lawbreaking in ways that pose real danger to manned air traffic.


In a white paper released in March, DJI, like other interested parties, has developed a proposal for identifying airborne drones. DJI’s GPS-based geofencing system warns unauthorized drone pilots not to fly near airports, providing warning information to drone operators based on the location of the drone. In some locations, the technology automatically prevents the drone from flying, either by disabling the motors before takeoff or by causing an in-flight drone to pause outside the designated area without entering. These locations include airports, places with temporary increased aviation activity, disaster emergency zones or locations that raise serious national security concerns. The Tel Aviv Airport shown in the video has geofencing protection active around its runway location, extending five miles outward from the airport area along a rising slope.

According to recent media reports, certain flight control parameter modifications may enable DJI drones to circumvent built-in safety features, including geofencing restrictions. DJI said it is constantly working on improving its firmware to counter unauthorized tampering. A recent firmware update has been issued for all DJI to fix reported issues and to ensure that DJI’s products continue to provide information and features supporting safe flight. DJI pointed out it will continue to investigate additional reports of unauthorized modifications and issue software updates to address them without further announcement.

DJI said it had put comprehensive advisory and educational resources in place, but nevertheless asks drone users to ensure the safe and legal operation of their equipment wherever they are, while respecting the safety and security needs of sensitive locations that are reflected in DJI’s geofencing systems.

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