DJI consumer drones to come with plane and helicopter detection to reduce collision risk
DJI has committed to installing aeroplane and helicopter detectors in new consumer drones, as part of a 10-point plan to ensure the world’s skies remain safe in the drone era.
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 aeroplanes and helicopters and warns drone pilots if they appear to be on a collision course.
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 aeroplanes 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 only been available on some professional-grade DJI drones.
The 10 Points of DJI’s Elevating Safety Vision
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
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 mid-air drone incidents are false or unproven.
Schulman said: “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.
“There has never been a confirmed collision between a drone and an aeroplane, 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.”
Aviation Organisers in Favour of AirSense Proposal
DJI’s ambitious schedule aligns with the FAA’s upcoming requirement for essentially all aeroplanes and helicopters to be equipped with ADS-B transmitters in controlled airspace, starting January 1, 2020.
Other aviation organisations agree that installing AirSense in mainstream consumer drones is an important step for protecting aeroplanes and helicopters and the people who fly in them.
Here are some of their comments:
Expanding the availability of AirSense to DJI pilots is a meaningful step forward in safely integrating UAS and reducing conflicts with manned aircraft. ADS-B In is used daily by thousands of pilots to increase their situational awareness and ensure safe operations. As the general aviation fleet further equips with ADS-B Out and other NextGen technology, enhancements like AirSense will allow all pilots to maximize their investment. All of aviation will benefit from the incorporation of this technology into DJI’s large fleet.
Rune Duke, Senior Director of Airspace and Air Traffic at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
DJI deserves real credit for this safety initiative. DJI’s safety policy is beyond what we have been urging the FAA and other drone manufacturers to require for multiple years. We appreciate DJI’s commitment to all airspace users’ well-being and look forward to working with them on equipping sense and avoid technology to their drones to complement the ADS-B system.
Andrew Moore, Executive Director at the National Agricultural Aviation Association.
AAAE is pleased with DJI’s decision to equip nearly all of its drones with ADS-B In capabilities. Providing users with better situational awareness of nearby air traffic will only increase safety in the national airspace, particularly around airports where these measures are needed most.
Justin Barkowski, Staff Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at the American Association of Airport Executives.
Implementation of ADS-B will be another major accomplishment in the NextGen programme. As with widespread use of GPS for precision navigation, ADS-B will enable precision surveillance that will enhance safety and efficiency for all operators in the airspace.
Edward Bolen, President and CEO at the National Business Aviation Association.
A Positive Reaction Online
DJI’s vision has attracted a largely positive reaction from people online. Comments on DJI’s AirSense video on YouTube included:
OK, as a DJI drone pilot I LOVE this idea. I live near a major airport, and thus I see planes constantly while flying my drone (under 200 ft.). I love this approach of wanting to inform the drone pilot of other aircraft in the area, instead of limiting their ability to fly in an airspace. Thank you DJI for your continued innovation.
That’s great. Innovation definitely beats laws when it comes to drone safety. Especially helicopters can be a huge problem. Such a system really helps a lot!
YES DJI this is what WE want for all DJI drones perfect, simply perfect. I’m Glad to use this feature.
James is Heliguy’s Blogger and Drone Content Executive. James keeps our readers up to date with drone news within the ever-changing industry.