A three-dimensional “bow tie” geofence will soon prevent DJI’s drones from being able to fly too close to major European airports. While the company’s drones have included geofencing technology since 2013, the new tech — developed by aviation tech company Altitude Angel — expands the restricted zone from a simple two-dimensional circle to a much larger three-dimensional zone.
The announcement comes after drone sightings caused Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport, to shut down in the run-up to Christmas, grounding hundreds of flights. Although a local couple was arrested by police, they were later released without charge. As a result, we still don’t know who was responsible or what brand of drone was used. Both Gatwick and Heathrow airports have also purchased their own anti-drone systems in the wake of the disruption.
DJI’s new system, which it’s dubbed Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0, uses three different sizes of exclusion zone, depending on the size of the airport. Along with restricting flights in an oval around the runway itself, the geofence also includes an “Altitude Zone” at both ends of the airport. This last zone is three-dimensional, meaning you can still fly a drone at lower altitudes once you’re far enough away from the runway.
Along with the United Kingdom, DJI says the update will be coming to 32 European countries in total, including 19 countries that previously had no geofencing support at all. The GEO 2.0 update will be available starting later this month, and it will require users to update the firmware on their drone as well as the companion DJI Go 4 mobile app.
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