DJI took to the roofs of Washington DC to demonstrate aeroscope, a new identification technology the company has taken to calling an “electronic license plate for drones.” The feature is designed to offer up quick information to authorities on a given UAV, should it, say, come to lose to an airport, prison or other restricted airspace.
aeroscope works by pulling information from existing radio transmissions between the drone and its remote control — as such, it should work with the DJI’s existing products, which already make up a huge chunk of the market.
Using this data, an aeroscope receiver within range is able to pull in a number of key data points, including identifiers like registration and serial number.
“aeroscope is designed to meet authorities’ legitimate needs concerning safety, security and privacy while also respecting the rights of people and businesses who use drones,” t the company’s VP of Policy and Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman said in a statement tied to the demo “DJI’s solution provides the information authorities need, while ensuring that flight data is only collected on the small number of drone flights that could raise concerns.” All of this is still relatively early days, but the company no doubt wanted to further ensure authorities that it’s doing what it can to stop on top of regulation.
It’s called the aeroscope, and it uses the existing command and control signal, a radio transmission between the drone and the remote control.
An authorized customer, like a local sheriff’s department, could use the aeroscope to see any DJI drone within a five-kilometer radius.
“aeroscope is designed to meet authorities’ legitimate needs concerning safety, security and privacy while also respecting the rights of people and businesses who use drones,” Schulman said.
Of course, aeroscope only identifies DJI drones for now.
So DJI is also inviting other manufacturers to make their drones compatible with aeroscope, something it says will require a simple firmware update, without any changes to existing hardware.
Martino calls this box “the gizmos,” but its real name is aeroscope.
Martino and his team at the Ventura County Department of Airports have been testing aeroscope since October, when DJI contacted the department and asked if they wanted access to an early prototype.
Martino was telling me about his daily patrol routine when, in the middle of our conversation, the aeroscope box began squawking, a series of beep beep beeps that sounded like an old landline got left off the hook.
Based on the information on the aeroscope display, the drone pilot appeared to be near Port Hueneme, California, about 10 miles away.
That wasn’t the only “rogue” drone we spotted while taping episode 2 of Next Level season 2, an episode focused largely on DJI’s new aeroscope technology.
While interviewing Michael Perry, DJI’s managing director of North America, in Golden Gate Park, the aeroscope box sniffed out another drone flying nearby.
It decodes that signal, and then sends the drone’s telemetry data and registration information to the aeroscope box.
But since DJI is the North American market leader in personal drones, aeroscope also has the potential to impact the many drone pilots out there, who may have varied interpretations of the rules.
After aeroscope alerted Martino to a drone flying within the vicinity of the Camarillo Airport, I asked him what would happen next.
Update: DJI says the production version of aeroscope will not show pilots’ email addresses, and that an aeroscope users will have to use a drone’s serial number or registration number to get in touch with the drone pilot.
DJI’s Perry echoed this, when I asked him whether he thinks aeroscope is going to make DJI customers nervous.
He said he believes the vast majority of users want to operate safely, though he did later say the data captured on aeroscope could “start an investigation path” if law enforcement did see a need to slap a drone pilot with a fine.
The company says aeroscope only tracks DJI drones, addressing about 65 percent of the market, though in the future a firmware update could connect it with other drones.
For now, Nick Martino says he wants to get aeroscope installed directly in his fleet of patrol cars.
“Also, as the public becomes more aware that this type of technology is available and in the hands of law enforcement — firefighters, and at airports — ultimately, those people thinking about flying in restricted airspace may think twice.” Editor’s note: This story was updated November 15, a day after its original publication, to include more information from DJI on how aeroscope users will be able to contact drone pilots once the system spots their drones.
This week’s episode featured DJI’s aeroscope technology that can track rogue drones.
Though the FAA is still poised to majorly relax its rules about flying your drone at night and over crowds of people, the agency now says it won’t be doing that until it can figure out a system to let it remotely track and identify drones at a distance, something the industry is also working on itself (here’s what we learned about DJI’s aeroscope), and it’s asking the public to comment on what sorts of performance and legal restrictions it should place on drones before they’re allowed to do those things.
has already introduced a tracking system, called aeroscope, that Mr. Lisberg said would eventually act as a major deterrent toward improper use.
“To date, at least 278 people around the world have been rescued from peril by drones, and this program will ensure that many more lives are saved by mitigating the risks to emergency responders on the ground and on the front lines of natural disasters.” Drone hardware and software distributed through the program will include DJI’s most advanced technologies, including the DJI Matrice 200 series and Mavic 2 Enterprise series drones, accessories and batteries, powerful visual and thermal cameras, DJI’s FlightHub drone fleet management software, and DJI aeroscope for airspace management and unauthorized drone detection and mitigation.
To be sure, this new app won’t be as powerful as aeroscope, the proprietary system to track rogue drones released by DJI in 2017.
aeroscope has much stronger transmission power — as strong as the drone’s regular command-and-control signal — so it can pick up drones from miles away.
As such, airports, prisons, and stadiums will probably continue to use aeroscope, the spokesperson said.
DJI says it’s “currently reviewing” the proposal, though the drone giant notes that it implemented its own aeroscope remote ID technology some two years ago, in order to address pilots flying too close to problem areas.
We hope aeroscope in a sentence examples were helpful.