Drones

NoFlyZone.org keeps the airspace above your home drone-free

NoFlyZone.org keeps the airspa...
NoFlyZone.org is aimed at preventing unwanted drones flying over your home (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com
NoFlyZone.org is aimed at preventing unwanted drones flying over your home (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com
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NoFlyZone.org is aimed at preventing unwanted drones flying over your home (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com
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NoFlyZone.org is aimed at preventing unwanted drones flying over your home (Photo: Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com

About the only thing growing quicker than the number of privately owned drones is the level of concern surrounding them. Questions of privacy and how these things can be regulated are pretty well-founded, but are so far yet to be met with any convincing answers. NoFlyZone.org may go some way to providing a solution, allowing users to enter their address to create drone-free zones in the airspace over their homes.

The process seems simple enough. Users visit NoFlyZone.org and enter their home address along with some basic information. This data is then processed by the NoFlyZone.org database, which registers the address and its GPS coordinates. This information is then relayed to drone manufacturers to create a geofence around the home and render their products unable to fly over the property.

So how many manufacturers are onboard? Not a whole lot... yet. HEXO+, the company behind the auto-tracking drone that amassed more than US$1 million in Kickstarter funding last year has signed on, as has Ehang, makers of the recently unveiled Ghost Drone. Other names include DroneDeploy, a drone management platform, and electric aviation company Yuneec.

Astute onlookers will note the absence of big players like DJI and 3D Robotics, but NoFlyZone.org says it is in the process of forming a consortium of participants from the industry interested in taking a more proactive approach to privacy issues, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if they got involved. Especially considering the firmware upgrade from DJI last week that effectively made the White House and downtown Washington DC a no-go zone (a patch that has subsequently been rolled back, for now).

Success of NoFlyZone.org will hinge largely on the manufacturers that choose to adopt it, and even then, how effectively private drone owners can be coerced into updating software to adhere to its restrictions. Either way, as the Federal Aviation Administration drags its feet on drone law reform it looks to be a step in the right direction, with some in the industry apparently keen to initiate some form of self-regulation.

Source: NoFlyZone.org

8 comments
Grunt
A shotgun would be a much more entertaining way of deterring casual overflying of private property by drones.......
MD
Nice Idea, and it may work out, but it is totally unnecessary, and is only going to go some way in pleasing the paranoid masses. Current standard operating procedures which have been in place for flying RC aircraft still exist. In essence, for the popular multirotor aircraft (as they have no effective power out gliding ability) they have no legal presence flying over any built-up area. Also, mentioning 3DR as part of the consortium shows that the writer doesn't really have a handle on how 3RD does business (at present). The "drones" which people build using Ardupilot, or any other open source community developed control system are user configurable, and it is the user who makes the decision as to which co-ordinates are entered into any geofence which may be present. The only reason why DJI was able to make some mileage out of its propaganda anouncement, is that the DJI platform is a locked down system, and the user doesn't have access to all the "nuts and bolts" of the system. With any of these systems, at present (and in the future most likely) they are still able to fly in GPS denied Airspace and are thus able to fly without a GPS receiver commected (under manual control). It will be very likely that such a program as NoFlyZone, will not be effective, in the unlikely event that someone intrudes on your privacy. If they do (intrude on your privacy on private property), there are already adequate laws (in most countries) which can be enforced, and if the owner of any property takes it into their hands to disable (by legal means) a low-flying noisy bird-like creature over their property, there will be no recourse at law for the operators of such a device. (ie. shooting a "drone" out of the sky is not a crime, as long as no firearms offence is committed (Not even the FAA will care about that), and confiscating something on your private property which has no authority being there is also not a misdemeanour (one is not actually entitled to trespass in order to recover their (not stolen but list whilst being illegally operated) property, whatever the common thought may be). Wow that was fun, time to go shoo that drone away from my window, vortex cannon time. Not tense at all.
ezeflyer
I would love to see the drone technology applied to piloted aircraft for the fun of flying.
Tim Markwald
I agree with Grunt, My property, fly over at your own risk. Make it challenging, though. My aim improves with practice.
Bob Flint
A good powerful laser, less noise, and perhaps one could sell the left-over parts once it crashes.
Stephen Mann
"(ie. shooting a "drone" out of the sky is not a crime, as long as no firearms offence is committed (Not even the FAA will care about that), " This is wrong. The FAA considers these as aircraft and shooting one down would be a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 32 - Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities. In the 1946 case U.S. vs. Causby, the Supreme Court said landowners have exclusive right of airspace surrounding their property. In part, the decision says “The landowner owns the space above the ground as the can occupy or use in connection with the land”. The United States relies on the Air Commerce Act of 1926, 44 Stat. 568, 49 U.S.C. § 171 et seq., as amended by the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, 52 Stat. 973, 49 U.S.C. § 401 et seq. Under those statutes, the United States has "complete and exclusive national sovereignty in the air space" over this country. 49 U.S.C. § 176(a). They grant any citizen of the United States "a public right of freedom of transit in air commerce through the air space of the United States." So, do you want to be the test case?
Call Me Wally
Stephen Mann makes some way good points. I think the NoFly.org is just hopping on a nonexistant bandwagon in light of the recent toy that landed on White House grounds. From the privacy stand point it's only an issue if there is a camera on the drone, what if I tape a GoPro to a broom stick and hold it up to your windows, are we going to need a Federal office to to get involved in controling broom sticks? What about shovel handles? Etc. From a safety standpoint, birds cause more problems than drones ever did. (See wikapedia... bird strike). I live close to Ohare airport and at any moment I could have hundreds of tons of aircraft over my head and property, and I should worry about a 2 pound toy? Hey Grunt, what are you going to shoot if there is a kite over your property? Or a Party balloon? Just another case of people with nothing to do griping about anyone who does.
MD
Stephen Mann: that was an appropriate reply, however it seems there are conflicting laws regarding the rights of a landowner, the right to travel and conduct commerce, FAA regulations regarding minimums, maximums and delegated authority to MAA and the operating procedures overseen by all of these authorities and agencies. A test case would be very messy with all of the conflicting Local, State, Federal, constitutional, FAA, MAA, local association and other possible laws and bylaws. (Not in the USA, therefore these laws aren't actually relevant to me.) I am glad that some discussion was stimulated, it seems that is a helpful thing. If people (like myself) who love to fly RC aircraft and hope to venture into professional use of UAS, realise that they must act as responsible citizens for everything to go smoothly. If people continue thinking that it is the wild west, and operate outside the Law, they may find themselves regulated against (or shot out of the sky). Sure 2-wrongs don't make a right, it just makes 2 separate court cases, with double the revenue to the government. So lets not shoot-down low flying UAV's, use the robowars equivalent of a killer UAV and take it out innocently, or force it to RTL. (PS, much of the UAV content shot in the USA in Youtube etc, can be deemed as evidence of illegal commercial activity, though I do like seeing what people are doing.)