News: DJI Partner with 3DR & CAA emergency service regulations change

Drone News: Heliguy look into the partnership with DJI and 3DR and the exemption by the CAA for the UK Emergency Services from part of the Air Navigation Order

Last updated: Mar 03, 2021

3 minute read

The last couple of weeks have seen some interesting announcements across the droning world. Firstly, with the news of the UK drone registrations that we covered here. Now DJI have been making friends with old rivals and the CAA have been reducing some regulations. Keep reading for the full update below.  

DJI have partnered with 3D Robotics.

DJI and their previous competitors have partnered up, allowing 3DR’s software to now be used with DJI’s drones. 3DR was previously thought of as the up and coming drone manufacturer who could compete against DJI in bringing drones to the consumer market. Their biggest aircraft, the Solo, was released in 2015 with a great deal of hype. Unfortunately, issues with manufacturing and poor sales resulted in staff layoffs and in 2016, 3DR made the decision to leave the drone market to focus primarily on software for industrial industries. 3DR developed their software, Site Scan, primarily for mapping and surveying in construction. 3DR limited their software to use with a dedicated aircraft. Following the partnership announcement, the 3DR Site Scan will be compatible with initially a DJI Phantom 4 with plans for release with other DJI aircraft. 3DR announced the news along with the introduction of Enterprise Atlas, their new solution for large, fast-growing businesses to plan and deploy drones for their operations. We’re unsure of the reasons for this partnership, but excited to see the developments as the pairing of DJI’s unbeatable aircraft and 3DR’s skills in software, could lead to some impressive innovations that aren’t just limited to industries such as construction.

CAA grant UK Emergency Services exemption from parts of the Air Navigation Order 2016

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that any member of the United Kingdom Emergency Services who is flying a drone during a situation that is considered to cause immediate risk to human life or a major incident, is exempt from part of the Air Navigation Order. In basic terms, when a member of the police sees fit, during an incident which is out of the scope of business-as-usual, a drone can be flown out of the pilot’s line of sight and around people, vehicles and buildings. The CAA still limits the use of drones, even with the police and state the following:
  • The pilot must have permissions to fly the aircraft
  • The pilot stays below 400ft or 100ft above the highest obstacle
  • Flight must be within agreements set out by the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme which included the Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services
  • The pilot must keep the aircraft within the control limits detailed in the user manual
  • Must stay within 1000 meters of pilot unless permission is given by the On-Scene Incident Commander on 2000 unless the Tactical Commander gives permission
The full details of the CAA's exemption can be seen below:
Heliguy's CAA approved Training Team said the following: “In our opinion, the exemption that has been issued by the CAA for Small Unmanned Aircraft – Emergency Services Operations, strikes a good balance between public safety and concerns about the misuse of drones and enabling the emergency services to react to situations where the risk to life and the potential benefits outweigh the risks associated with the use of drones. It is worth noting that the exemption can only be used if the service in question has a valid permission or exemption (operational authorisation) and their operations manual includes the necessary risk management processes and operational procedures to allow the safe implementation of this exemption. The exemption only covers part of the legislation in the Air Navigation Order (the other regulations still apply) and introduces a number of requirements for the use of the exemption. As it mentions in the notes of the exemption; this will be viewed in a similar fashion to that where Police, Fire or Ambulance vehicles are permitted to proceed through red traffic lights etc.” cornwall & devon police drones The exemption reflects the recent news that several police forces across the UK are using drones as part of their work, some with specific drone units. It seems there’s an announcement weekly of a force using drones for aspects of the job. It’s a welcome change by heliguy™ as it shows the public that when used responsibly, drones can actually be a benefit, rather than the usual negative press that drones receive from some of the media.
  Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for insights into the marketplace, what we’re up to and, of course, more of the latest news from the drone industry.

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