Airports have been a chaotic place during the past few years. With the rise of recreational drones, more and more people can easily get their hands on one. While irresponsible drone owners are an obviously small minority, their actions still put the spotlight on owners in general. Recent incidents in Gatwick and Heathrow airports show the dangers planes face in the midst of a drone. The risk for on-air collisions is a frightening image; which can result in plane damages and at its worst, casualties.
The Airport Dilemma
Several attempts to prevent airplane collisions especially near airports have been suggested. The most common strategy to combat these wayward drones is to tighten drone regulations. The airport distance limit specifically, which is currently at 1 kilometer, now plans to jump to 3-5 kilometers. With this increase in banned areas, airports hope that drone owners would fly further away, giving planes space to navigate.
Another suggestion (and is currently on its final steps) is drone ID tagging. This means a drone and its owner would receive license plates that link them together. This provides an increased liability from the owner, which can hopefully make them more careful.
DJI Geofencing Program
The drone-manufacturing giant DJI adds their own solution to this ongoing problem. DJI intends to create No-Fly Zone programs within their drones. Using geofencing, DJI’s drones would recognize if they are within the airport ban range and would not fly further. This makes it a very valuable asset, as it automatically recognizes if it enters banned locations. It removes the ‘accidental’ aspect of flying one’s drone within the flight path of a plane.
So far, the GPS geofencing program by DJI expects to apply on over 30 countries in Europe alone. The plan sets to complete functionality during the first half of 2019. What do you think? Will this new geofencing strategy – a built-in program – work to prevent further chaos in airports?