DJI says its record on safety initiatives is impressive – and it is

DJI Safety

We were alerted to a new DJI blog post. It summarizes the drone giant’s efforts when it comes to safety initiatives, listing off multiple measures it has undertaken over the years. It’s worth diving into.

When it comes to the number of flights vs. the number of incidents, drones are far safer than crewed aircraft. There are some 88 million drone flights in the US each year, and there have been zero fatalities. Industry giant DJI has long incorporated safety and redundancy features into its UAS and is seen by many as a leader in this area. In fact, a little more than two years ago, the company laid out its vision in the Elevating Safety document, a 37-page White Paper you can download here.

Now, DJI is taking a look at what has been accomplished since then in a new and comprehensive blog post.

Significant progress

That could probably be an alternate headline to the post, written by the world’s most famous drone lawyer — DJI’s Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs, Brendan Schulman. It outlines the safety recommendations made in that original 2019 report, along with the progress that DJI — and the industry — have made.

“Other drone manufacturers have launched a wide range of new platforms with innovative capabilities,” writes Schulman, “but none have come close to matching the safety measures DJI developed voluntarily.”

AirSense

One of those features, DJI’s AirSense, will automatically alert a pilot if a helicopter or small aircraft is approaching, providing those aircraft are equipped with ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) Transponders. We’ve already seen a number of instances where pilots were alerted by this feature, which DJI created itself.

(We’ve previously written a fairly comprehensive piece about AirSense and why we feel it’s such an innovative and important feature.)

A lot of innovation

But it’s not just AirSense. The lengthy blog post reviews 10 recommendations DJI made in that original document, along with that progress DJI and the industry and regulators have made when it comes to safety initiatives.

Brendan writes a great post, so rather than re-write his words, we’ll hit the high points in a list and then link to the post. Each number represents a goal outlined in that 2019 White Paper, along with a status update (plus further context and comment).

These are the headlines:

  1. DJI will install AirSense on all 250+ gram drones: Status? Done.
  2. DJI will develop a new automatic warning for drone pilots flying at extended distances. Status? Done.
  3. DJI will establish an internal Safety Standards Group to meet regulatory/customer expectations. Done.
  4. Aviation industry groups must develop standards for reporting drone incidents. In progress.
  5. All drone manufacturers should install geofencing and remote identification. No progress.
  6. Governments must require remote identification. Status: Almost there.
  7. Governments must require a user-friendly knowledge test for new drone pilots. Almost there.
  8. Governments must clearly designate sensitive restriction areas. Status: In progress.
  9. Local authorities must be allowed to respond to drone threats that are clear and serious. No progress.
  10. Governments must increase enforcement of laws against unsafe drone operation. Status: In progress.

Check out the post

Brendan Schulman does a great job of offering details on all of the above points, along with terrific context. We recommend taking the time to read his post.

And, yes, kudos to DJI for its safety initiatives. These are important steps.

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