DJI’s geo-fencing firmware GEO (Geospatial Environment Online) has been round for a while, and it usually works. If you attempt to take off in restricted airspace your UAV will keep on the floor, and when you attempt to fly into restricted airspace, your drone will freeze and hover proper at the border.
Which is an effective factor, in idea. We actually don’t need drones flying close to airplanes or in managed airspace.
But in utility there are nonetheless a whole lot of kinks to be labored out.
We heard just lately from a UAV pilot in Florida who’s having bother flying his Mavic inside permitted airspace because of an obvious glitch in a latest replace to GEO.
We’ll let him inform his story:
I stay in Starke, Florida. About 10 miles from my home is Camp Blanding (an Air Force and National Guard Training facility). Of course, flying round the base is a “no-no”, which is to be anticipated.
However, I stay roughly 10 miles away and I’ve by no means had an issue with flying my DJI Phantom four or Mavic Pro till this final DJI replace for his or her geo-fencing firmware. My complete metropolis is now in a NFZ!
The FAA’s B4UFly app under reveals that I’m “good-to-go” with flying in Starke.
And right here is the display seize from my Mavic Pro of DJI’s new geo-fencing with the NFZ being in RED.
At the very high, under the “ATTI” graphic, is Jacksonville’s International Airport (JAX) and it’s appropriately recognized as an NFZ space. Almost straight south of JAX airport on the river is certainly one of the navy bases in Jacksonville. The HUGE Red NFZ in the backside left aspect is my small city of Starke.
With DJI’s newest firmware replace, I’ve now misplaced all of my skill to fly commercially for native automobile dealerships and different enterprise that need my companies.
Below, the pink triangle with the purple circle is my home. I’m roughly three/10ths of a mile from being out of this over-reaching NFZ.
Is there ANYTHING I can do to have DJI change this loopy NFZ since the FAA themselves say that’s it’s okay to fly in my metropolis and at my home?
What Do You Do When the Technology Is Wrong?
We might write a complete article on the nuances of the airspace in query (for many who have an interest, this particular state of affairs was hashed out to a powerful stage of element in a latest thread in our group discussion board), however suffice to say that this pilot must be allowed to fly round Starke, however can’t because of flawed data in DJI’s GEO firmware replace.
So the place do you go from right here?
For a industrial operator constructing a neighborhood enterprise, this type of error might be devastating. Your fledgling buyer base might fade away into nothing when you await the expertise to be corrected.
So, since ready isn’t an possibility, you’re left with both selecting to purchase a brand new drone from a unique firm that doesn’t have this downside (which might be price prohibitive), and hoping they don’t implement equally flawed geo-fencing, or turning to some sort of black hat answer. Stuck between a rock and a tough place, primarily.
Enter the Russian firm named, satirically in our opinion, Coptersafe.
Coptersafe supplies software program created particularly for DJI drones that permits pilots to “jailbreak” their drones, and trick their GPS into pondering they’re flying in authorized airspace when they’re in truth in an NFZ. It additionally permits permits drones to fly increased than the 500 meter top restrict, and to fly quicker than presently permitted by DJI.
One relatively huge limitation to Coptersafe’s software program answer is that it solely works till DJI releases one other replace (that are nearly not possible to cross up, at this level).
We must be clear right here. We aren’t suggesting that pilots ought to use Coptersafe’s companies. In reality, we really feel strongly that you shouldn’t. Software like this might enable much less accountable pilots—or these with malicious intent—to fly in or close to airports, which might put folks vulnerable to actual hurt.
And extra usually, utilizing shortcuts like the one offered by Coptersafe bypasses the bigger, tougher process of discovering a means ahead that really works for everybody, retains folks protected, and supplies a secure basis for the drone business to develop.
If UAV pilots are seen as rogue brokers who take the regulation into their very own arms when it fits them, will probably be that a lot tougher to persuade folks that drones can really be used for good. That isn’t one thing we’d like, particularly at a time the place there may be a lot uncertainty about the regulatory way forward for the business.
But what are you able to do? Waiting for change, shopping for a brand new drone, or putting in shady Russian software program are all horrible choices.
We recommend you flood DJI with calls, emails, and messages on social media letting them know that this can be a actually huge deal. That’s beginning place. Also, chime in on our discussion board thread with concepts and even simply to seek out folks going by way of related experiences.
The frustration is actual, however collectively we must always be capable of transfer ahead.