DJI has moved to allay some of the privacy concerns surrounding drones, introducing a new feature designed to identify its unmanned aircraft as they buzz about overhead. Dubbed AeroScope, the technology broadcasts information such as serial numbers and altitude to help authorities monitor the whereabouts of individual airborne drones.
AeroScope uses the existing communications link between the remote controller and the drone to pull basic telemetry data, meaning things like the location, altitude, speed and direction of the drone, along with its serial or registration number (like a license plate for drones).
Equipped with a special AeroScope receiver, police, security agencies and aviation authorities can then make use of that information to keep tabs on unmanned drones in the interests of public safety. The technology has been in place at two international airports since April and DJI also demonstrated it last week in Brussels, where the company says it was shown to sense a drone the moment it was turned on and plot its location on a map, along with its registration number.
To its credit, DJI has been pretty proactive when it comes to drone safety. In 2016 it launched a geofencing system to prevent its aircraft from venturing into restricted airspace and last year it released software that limited the range of unregistered drones. Still, if anyone should be preoccupied with public safety when it comes to drones, it might just be the world's largest drone manufacturer ...
AeroScope will work with all current DJI drones and because it uses the existing communications link, it does not require any new hardware or modifications.