Today at the W hotel in Washington, D.C., Adam Lisberg, Corporate Communications Director for DJI, introduced DJI’s Aeroscope program. Aeroscope is a data receiver that intercepts data transfer between a drone and it’s pilot. It is able to identify the drone make and model, the location, altitude, the direction and speed in which it is flying as well as the owner or pilot controlling the drone.
Aeroscope, balancing security and privacy concerns
Aeroscope does not allow other parties to control the drone directly, nor does it have access to the photo or video footage saved on the drone or controller. DJI tries to strike a balance between safety and security for people on the ground or in manned aircraft as well as the privacy of the drone pilot.
The drone pilots can opt to identify themselves and their intentions on the DJI app. For instance an insurance inspector or ATT maintenance crew inspecting cell towers. Local law enforcement or other government agencies would be able to access that information.
Aeroscope tests around the world
Aeroscope comes in both a fixed setup as well as a mobile version for law enforcement and other government agencies.
Currently, there are two test installations in Asia, two in Europe and two at airports in the U.S. There are also a number of mobile installations available, of which at least six were available at today’s event.
Washington, D.C. is a no-fly zone for drones, so for demonstration purposes, DJI was not able to work with airborne drones. Instead, they had positioned two drones at different locations in the city. On the mobile Aeroscope installations, the press and media members were able to test out the program.
Micheal Perry, Managing Director of DJI North America, told DroneDJ that Aeroscope is not meant to be a profitable business unit. Instead, it is meant to alleviate and resolve concerns expressed by law enforcement and other government agencies such as the FAA. The aim of Aeroscope is to eliminate or reduce these concerns so that the drone market can continue its stellar growth.
Aeroscope works with almost all drones
Aeroscope is able to work with all new DJI drones straight out of the box. Older DJI drones will be able to transmit data to Aeroscope after a firmware upgrade. Aeroscope can also work with drones from other manufacturers as DJI aims to provide a global solution. Even homemade drones can be adjusted to work with Aeroscope.
DJI’s Aeroscope is able to track and identify multiple drones at once. Lisberg said that during testing they had more than a dozen drones in the air and Aeroscope was able to identify and track them all.
Aeroscope comes at no additional cost to the consumer or professional drone pilot.
We appreciate the fact that DJI is taking a pro-active approach in trying to resolve the concerns expressed by the public and government agencies, such as the FAA and law enforcement. Oftentimes waiting for the regulatory process to catch up with modern technology simply takes too long. Even though almost all people fly and enjoy drones responsibly, there are enough examples of drones being misused. DJI’s Aeroscope is the only manufacturer’s initiative so far, to try and resolve this. Bravo!
What do you think about Aeroscope? Do you think DIJ is doing the right thing here? Do you think they shoiuld be doing more? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @hayekesteloo