“No geofence restrictions” has often been a selling point for Autel drones. But now, it looks like the drone manufacturer is upping the ante on airspace safety by introducing a compulsory No-Fly Zone database in the United States. This new geofencing feature comes with the latest firmware update (v2.7.25) for the EVO II drones.
With this addition, Autel EVO II drones are now equipped with geofencing capabilities in the US, Japan, Australia, as well as the Greater China area. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these capabilities will be enforced. The drone manufacturer says:
This update is based off of your drone’s GPS location and not your mobile device location. Unless you’re a user that’s in a country that requires that we restrict you in a No-Fly Zone, you will only see notifications in your local airspace. You will not be restricted from taking off.
So, what this means is that while Autel is not going to stop you from taking off in restricted airspace – yet – the dronemaker hopes that you will be responsible enough to make the right decision yourself once it has made you aware of the aviation laws in the local airspace.
Also read: Randall Warnas, Autel’s newly appointed CEO, resigns citing nepotism, integrity issues
How geofencing is being added to Autel EVO II
Once you’re on the latest Autel Explorer app (v1.10.11 for iOS and v1.17.73 for Android) and firmware versions, and you have an internet connection, the update will be automatically downloaded from your app up to your aircraft.
The following video provides instructions on how to update firmware over the air:
The dronemaker advises leaving the equipment alone for another two or three minutes once the prompt on your Explorer app disappears to allow the update to finish. Autel says:
We will be consistently updating the No-Fly Zone database. But if you don’t see any notification in your No-Fly Zone, don’t worry, it most likely is coming soon. Just make sure to always abide by your local regulations.
DJI’s Geofencing Club expands
Incidentally, DJI’s vice president of policy & legal affairs, Brendan Schulman, recently pointed out in a blog post that DJI was the only drone manufacturer to have set up voluntary geofencing systems to elevate airspace safety, saying:
Based on our experience with these groundbreaking safety solutions [geofencing and remote identification], we urged our competitors to adopt them as well to improve our common goal of safe drone flight. Several government and industry groups have since concurred that geofencing is a crucial safety and security feature. No other drone manufacturer has taken these safety measures, and several disappointingly market their products as easier to use or more capable than DJI’s because of their lack of geofencing.
Well, this latest update from Autel should surely make DJI happy. And while the newest member of its Geofencing Drones Club may not have taken the leap, it has certainly taken a step in the right direction.
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