DJI to stop you from flying your drone in restricted airspace

The issue of drone flights in restricted areas is a growing concern for airport authorities and the like, and has also caused problems for first responders trying to tackle incidents such as wildfires.

In a bid to improve safety in the skies and deter the implementation of possibly overzealous drone regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DJI says it’s about to launch a more dynamic version of its existing flight limitation software to help ensure operators only fly their machines in areas deemed safe.

DJI, one of the world’s top makers of consumer drones, already uses geofencing technology with its Phantom copters that prevents take-offs around permanent fixtures such as airports, but these latest improvements will mean maps and restrictions can be constantly updated according to an unfolding situation or special events.

For example, the authorities will be able to put restrictions in place around a wildfire to prevent firefighting efforts being impeded, while major public events such as sports games could also impose temporary flight restrictions that would render a drone inoperable close to the venue.

In addition, the changes will mean that for the first time, “drone operators will have, at the time of flight, access to live information on temporary flight restrictions,” DJI said in a release.

The technology making it possible has been built by LA-based AirMap, a young startup that collects and organizes low-altitude airspace data.

Commenting on the development, DJI’s Brendan Schulman said in the release, “We believe this major upgrade to our geofencing system will do even more to help operators understand their local flight environment, and to make smart, educated decisions about when and where to fly their drones.”

Some operators, for example employees inside a no-fly zone who need to use a drone in their work, will be able to temporarily bypass the system, but only if they first register their remotely controlled copter with DJI. However, in highly sensitive areas where national security is a concern – for example Washington, DC – the system cannot be bypassed.

DJI says the new mapping technology will be introduced next month via an update of its DJI Go app and drone firmware.

A million drones incoming

With around a million consumer drones expected to fly off the shelves over the holiday period, concerned authorities are looking at an array of methods for dealing with flight incursions. A number of new companies have sprung up offering technology that can take control of a drone and bring it safely back to the ground.

Meanwhile, the FAA is currently working on introducing a registration system for drone owners so an operator can be more easily traced in the event of a drone-related incident, whether deliberate or accidental.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.
Emerging Tech

U.S. hops on Boeing ban bandwagon, grounds 737 Max planes until further notice

The U.S. government, led by an executive order from President Donald Trump, has issued instructions that Boeing must ground all 737 Max aircraft operating inside the United States.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.