DJI is understandably nervous about where you fly its drones given that one owner trespassed on White House grounds, and it’s rolling out a new geofencing system to make sure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen again — just hours after rivals 3D Rdid the same. Its Geospatial Environment Online service gives you updated info on where you’re allowed to fly drones, including time-sensitive restrictions.
You can’t fly over prisons, for instance, and you may face a ban when there’s a raging forest fire. However, it also has a unique way of handling exceptions: as long as you’re willing to register with a payment card or phone number, you can fly in some restricted areas. In theory, this lets you enjoy your drone in more places while holding you accountable if you screw up.
GEO will first be available in Europe and North America this December, when it should pop up through firmware and mobile app updates.
The timing is more than a little convenient, if you ask us. Besides following a string of high-profile incidents where unmanned aircraft caused problems, it comes right as the US Department of Transportation is setting up a mandatory drone registration program.
Intentionally or not, DJI is anticipating the day when tight restrictions on drone flights are par for the course.