Commercially available drones have changed the face of both photography and videography forever, providing laypersons with capabilities that were once the exclusive realm of Hollywood.
Not all of this accessibility is widely welcomed, however, and the largely unregulated industry regularly finds itself in the crosshairs of both the government and media watchdogs.
Regulating drone technology has become a hot topic on this website of late, and this is mainly due to all of the various schemes, both government-backed and private initiatives by the manufacturers themselves, to address the growing issue of unidentified drones making life difficult in sensitive airspace for pilots, law enforcement, and other public actors.
Not to mention the whole added layer that domestic terrorism concerns adds to the mix, coupled with the explosive growth in the nascent industry, some things seem to be moving too fast for both the public’s and the industry’s liking.
The United Kingdom has announced a drone pilot licensing program and has even suggested regulating private ownership of drones even further.
At the heart of all of this, whether it wants to be or not, is Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, the largest drone manufacturer in the world. For its part, DJI’s AeroScope technology, developed to identify DJI drones and their registered owners to government officials, has attempted to self-regulated the largely untamed tech sector.
But Aeroscope only applies to DJI drones, and not every drone will use AeroScope technology.
Now in another effort at self-regulation, or perhaps in preparation for the inevitable, DJI is allowing its users to voluntarily self-identify their drone.
In an update to its AeroScope technology, DJI wants to allow the drone pilot to self-identify to officials, information that will “join the serial number and telemetry data DJI drones broadcast to AeroScope receivers used by authorities.”
According to DP Review, the updates will be rolled out at the user level “Via updates to both the DJI GO 4 app and DJI drones, operators will now have the option of broadcasting their Unique User Identification Code (UUIC), which is connected to their DJI pilot account, as well as providing Identification & Flight Information. With that latter option, drone operators can choose to share information about their flight with authorities who may be nearby with an AeroScope receiver.”
While most of the discussion about drone regulation and pilot identification has hinged on the dueling concerns of pilot privacy versus government necessity, this latest update to Aeroscope moves the ball somewhat into the user’s court by allowing for voluntary participation in the program.