Recently, popular maker of consumer drones 3DR announced that its Solo quadrotor would be updated with a system that tells owners where they’re not allowed to fly. Now DJI, makers of the ubiquitous Phantom line, is following suite.
Currently, DJI drones have a list of US airports inputted, and physically won’t let you fly your drone too close to them. That’s not changing, but the app is now being updated to have access to temporary flight restrictions. That means things like sporting events or the Pope visiting Washington will now pop up in the app.
In some specific cases — if the TFR isn’t for ‘national security’ concerns, and you’re a user registered with a valid credit card or phone number — DJI will let you ignore the warning and fly, although very much at your own risk. The new app and drone firmware will roll out to all compatible DJI machines in December.
It’s a very similar system to the one implemented by 3DR, and one with potentially similar consequences. With official government regulations still unclear, and the number of drone accidents on the rise, manufacturers are taking it on themselves to help drone owners fly responsibly, before we all get grounded forever.