While there are many drone makers, there’s one giant in the industry, DJI and when they make an announcement, its time for all drone owners to listen. DJI are deploying temporary restrictions in the Greater Sydney area for the upcoming ASEAN- Australia Special Summit 2018. The temporary no-fly zones aim to reduce the likelihood of drone operators inadvertently entering sensitive areas or places where they shouldn’t fly. The no-fly zones will be in effect for the duration of the summit which runs from March 16th to March 18th (midnight).
The no-fly zones will be implemented by adjusting DJI’s GPS-based geofencing system. This ensures those that fly drones (from DJI) will be stopped if they attempt to fly into the no-fly zones. Typically this has been in place for airports and secure locations but is now extending to temporary locations for events.
This ban will cover the majority of the Greater Sydney area and are based on the distance suggested by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). DJI users flying in Sydney will be able to view and locate the temporary no-fly zones through the DJI GO 4 mobile app once they are online and connected to their aircraft.
DJI’s Asia-Pacific Head of Public Policy, Adam Welsh said,
“Safety is DJI’s top priority and we’ve always taken proactive steps to educate our customers to operate their drones within the law,” “Where appropriate, we implement temporary no-fly zones during major events. We believe this feature will help reduce the chance of a user accidentally entering the area and causing security or safety concerns.”
The ASEAN summit, which involves the attendance of Southeast Asian heads of state, and 500 Australian business leaders, is the biggest inter-governmental event in Sydney since the APEC summit in 2017. The temporary updates to DJI’s existing no-fly zone system are similar to those that DJI has set up around other major events that have raised safety or national security concerns in the past, including political party conventions in the United States, the G7 Summit in Japan, the Euro 2016 football tournament in France and more recently, during the international athletic competitions in South Korea.
Get ready for similar bans for other major events like the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast from April 4th to 15th, 2018. Don’t be surprised if these temporary drone bans extend to major sporting events and music concerts. What isn’t clear is the process and the criteria to apply to DJI to have your event added, one hopes CASA is involved in the vetting of these applications.
Its actually a really smart use of the connected technology to save drone owners from themselves. For this to be effective though, other drone manufacturers should be forced to implement similar bans on drones over a certain payload capability. If the drone-free zone can be compromised simply by buying an alternate brand, the whole idea breaks down quickly.