China-based drone maker, DJI has unveiled AeroScope, its new solution to identify and monitor airborne drones that can address safety, security and privacy concerns.
AeroScope uses the existing communications link between a drone and its remote controller to broadcast identification information such as a registration or serial number, as well as basic telemetry, including location, altitude, speed and direction, a DJI statement said.
Police, security agencies, aviation authorities and other authorized parties can use an AeroScope receiver to monitor, analyze and act on that information. AeroScope has been installed at two international airports since April, and is continuing to test and evaluate its performance in other operational environments.
“As drones have become an everyday tool for professional and personal use, authorities want to be sure they can identify who is flying near sensitive locations or in ways that raise serious concerns,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI’s Vice President for Policy and Legal Affairs.
DJI demonstrated the system on October 12 in Brussels, Belgium, showing how an AeroScope receiver can immediately sense a drone as it powers on, then plot its location on a map while displaying a registration number.
That number functions as the equivalent of a drone license plate, and authorities can use it to determine the registered owner of a drone that raises concerns. AeroScope works with all current models of DJI drones, which analysts estimate comprise over two-thirds of the global civilian drone market.
Because AeroScope relies on drones directly broadcasting their information to local receivers, not on transmitting data to an internet-based service, it ensures most drone flights will not be automatically recorded in government databases, protecting the privacy interests of people and businesses that use drones.
Drone identification settings will be included in DJI’s initial drone software to allow customers to choose the content of their own drone’s identification broadcast to match local expectations both before and after identification regulations are implemented in different jurisdictions.
To protect customers’ privacy, the AeroScope system will not automatically transmit any personally identifiable information until regulations or policies in the pilot's jurisdiction require it.