DJI Adds ‘AirSense’ Aircraft Detection Technology to New Consumer Drones

Image of drone pilot using DJI Airsense drone technology

DJI has released their safety improvement agenda for drone operators and regulators that includes plans to add ADS-B receivers to their consumer-grade drones.

Announced at an event in Washington D.C, DJI has formulated a 10-step plan called “Elevating Safety” to strengthen the universal safety of their unmanned aircraft. From 1st January 2020 all DJI consumer drones that weigh more than 250g will be installed with AirSense, DJI’s aeroplane and helicopter detector technology. As the first step in their plan, the idea is to set a new standard in unmanned aviation safety by making this technology readily available to all drone operators.

So, what exactly is AirSense technology?

AirSense is a DJI technology that is able to detect manned aircraft, like aeroplanes and helicopters, from miles away. Once detected, AirSense will communicate this to the Pilot by displaying their locations on the remote controller screen. Watch the video to learn more:

As Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President for Policy & Legal Affairs explained: “There has never been a confirmed collision between a drone and an airplane, 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.”

What is “Elevating Safety” and why is it so important to the future of consumer drone operations?

As the largest global drone manufacturer, DJI has an inherent responsibility to ensure their drones remain a safe and positive addition to our airspace. The release of Elevating Safety shows us DJI are taking actionable steps to abide by this commitment.

Elevating Safety is DJI’s plan for implementing “data-based, real-world solutions to maximise safety, encourage innovation, minimise conflicts and help society.” To achieve this, they have developed a 10-step plan to benefit drone operators, the drone industry and worldwide governments.

What are DJI’s 10 Steps to Aviation Safety?

  1. DJI will install ADS-B receivers in all new drones above 250 grams.
  2. DJI will develop a new automatic warning for drone pilots flying at extended distances.
  3. DJI will establish an internal Safety Standards Group to meet regulatory and customer expectations.
  4. Aviation industry groups must develop standards for reporting drone incidents.
  5. All drone manufacturers should install geofencing and remote identification.
  6. Governments must require remote identification.
  7. Governments must require a user-friendly knowledge test for new drone pilots.
  8. Governments must clearly designate sensitive restriction areas.
  9. Local authorities must be allowed to respond to drone threats that are clear and serious.
  10. Governments must increase enforcement of laws against unsafe drone operation.

“DJI leads the drone industry in developing safety technology and education, and we continue that tradition today by setting higher expectations for ourselves, our competitors and regulators,” said Schulman.

“DJI was the first company to offer geofencing, automatic altitude limits, return-to-home technology and other safety features to the world’s growing community of personal and professional drone pilots. We believe our efforts have helped drones attain their enviable safety record, and we expect our new agenda will further improve safety even as more drones take to the skies.”

With Step 1 already underway, we look forward to monitoring the future developments of DJI’s aviation safety initiative to see how this impacts the UK’s drone operations and airspace safety.

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