Potential Restrictions In Upcoming DJI Firmware Have Pilots Concerned

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Mobile users woke up this morning to find a new pop-up message on their DJI Go App telling them there a new update process will take effect next week.

This new process will require all users to login with DJI after the update to ensure “you will use the correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft, as determined by your geographical location and user profile.”

Failure to perform the activation process means “the aircraft will not have access to the correct geospatial informaiton and flight functions for that region, and its operations will be restricted if you update the upcoming firmware: Live camera streaming will be disabled, and flight will be limited to a 50-meter (164 foot) radius up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.

What has recreational pilots concerned is whether or not DJI‘s software will now impose region or country specific rules within the App while flying.  For example, if you are flying in Canada will the App restrict your flight ceiling to 90 meters?  If you are flying in the UK will the App make the calculations to prevent your drone from being more that 400 feet vertically and 500 feet horizontally from you?

Given the unpredictable nature of how DJI drones sometimes get confused in their surroundings, whether losing GPS signal or experiencing ground sensor issues, this could further complicate things.

DJI users are already sharing their concerns on Facebook, and in forums, about the yet to be announced changes.  Despite knowing exactly what will change, some are already considering moving to a 3rd party app such as Litchi.

This push-notification from DJI comes just days ahead of the media event in New York City on May 24th where DJI is expected to release a new, smaller drone called the Spark.

We fully expect DJI to provide clear guidance on the software changes at the May 24th event.

What do you think? Is this a nefarious “Big Brother” invasion into the freedom of pilots to fly as they chose according to conditions? Or is it just a simple process to allow users to select their flight region so that future updates only download geospatial data relevant to them…thus freeing up data storage space on their devices?

Let us know in the comments below.

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