DJI: Register your drones or no more cool flying vids for you

Firm will kill live in-flight streaming unless you hand over your details


Chinese drone maker DJI is forcing all new users of its drones to register their devices through its app - and is throttling flight performance if they don't comply.

The new application activation process will restrict DJI drones to a maximum height of 98 feet (30 metres) and a lateral sphere of 164 feet (50m) around the operator - and live streaming via the onboard camera will be completely disabled.

A statement on the company's website says: "This new step, to take effect at the end of next week, ensures you will use the correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft, as determined by your geographical location and user profile. All existing flight safety limitations, such as geofencing boundaries and altitude limits, remain the same."

This move seems to mirror the sort of compulsory registration measures that regulators in the EU and the UK are currently mulling over. The basic idea is that people are less likely to use their drones for naughtiness if the authorities are looking over their shoulders and able to track them down instantly.

In the UK, non-commercial drone operators can only fly within line of sight at heights of up to 400 feet. Various other restrictions exist, in particular on keeping clear of buildings or people. With the appropriate permissions, commercial operators can increase those minima.

"The feature applies to all aircraft (except standalone A3 and N3) that have been upgraded to the latest firmware or when using future versions of the DJI GO and GO 4 apps," DJI added.

In the UK, airprox reports mentioning drones are relatively common, though some question whether all such reports actually involve drones or whether hyper-safety-aware airline pilots are leaping to conclusions and misreporting plastic bags caught by the wind.

Last month DJI quietly geofenced off large chunks of Iraq and Syria in conjunction with a US-led military offensive against local extremist groups, as exclusively revealed on The Register. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • DARPA wants to refuel drones in flight – wirelessly
    Boffin agency seeks help to shoot 100kW through the air with lasers, but contributors don't have long to deliver

    US military researchers are trying to turn in-flight refueling tankers into laser-shooting "airborne energy wells" for charging drones, and they want the public's help to figure out how.

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) published a request for information (RFI) from anyone willing and able to contribute their tech, with a few caveats. It needs to fit on existing in-flight refueling tankers (the newer KC-46 and Cold War-era KC-135, specifically) and be able to deliver 100kW of power.

    Militaries around the world have been using in-flight refueling for decades to extend aircraft patrols and long-range missions. With a history of development stretching back to the 1920s, the practice has since developed into a standard part of operating an air fleet powered by aviation fuel.

    Continue reading
  • Drone ship carrying yet more drones launches in China
    Zhuhai Cloud will carry 50 flying and diving machines it can control with minimal human assistance

    Chinese academics have christened an ocean research vessel that has a twist: it will sail the seas with a complement of aerial and ocean-going drones and no human crew.

    The Zhu Hai Yun, or Zhuhai Cloud, launched in Guangzhou after a year of construction. The 290-foot-long mothership can hit a top speed of 18 knots (about 20 miles per hour) and will carry 50 flying, surface, and submersible drones that launch and self-recover autonomously. 

    According to this blurb from the shipbuilder behind its construction, the Cloud will also be equipped with a variety of additional observational instruments "which can be deployed in batches in the target sea area, and carry out task-oriented adaptive networking to achieve three-dimensional view of specific targets." Most of the ship is an open deck where flying drones can land and be stored. The ship is also equipped with launch and recovery equipment for its aquatic craft. 

    Continue reading
  • Chinese drone-maker DJI suspends ops in Russia, Ukraine
    First Middle Kingdom company to take a stance says it doesn't want anyone weaponizing its flying machines

    In a first for a major Chinese tech company, drone-maker DJI Technologies announced on Tuesday that it will temporarily suspend business in both Russia and Ukraine.

    "DJI is internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Pending the current review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine. We are engaging with customers, partners and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension of business operations in the affected territories," declared DJI in a canned statement.

    Last week the company issued another statement clarifying that it did not market or sell its products for military use and "unequivocally opposed attempts to attach weapons to [its] products." DJI also said it "refused to customize or enable modifications that would enable [its] products for military use."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022