No flex drone! They knooooow better! (Thinkstock)
As anti-drone sentiment spreads, a new organization has risen to help individuals secure the blue skies above their properties.
When you enter your address, the website creates a geo-fence that No Fly Zone relays to drone software and hardware manufacturers. The hope is that drone makers will write these boundaries into their software, so that drones won’t be able to fly where you don’t want them to. No Fly Zone was actually formed by a consortium of seven smaller drone makers, who say on their website that they “want to take a leadership position on drone privacy issues.” (Probably a little late for that!) So far No Fly Zone’s geo-fences are honored only be the seven drone companies who created the site; they are still waiting on heavyweights like Parrot and DJI, the two largest drone makers in the world, to comply.
Several drone manufacturing companies have already launched new software features to warn or prevent drone operators from flying around sites like airports, military bases, stadiums, and many more legally forbidden spots.
Last summer, for example, DJI introduced a new update to its software for its Phantom 2 series drone that automatically prevented people from flying near certain restricted locations in its database. The software automatically warns operators if they’re approaching an out-of-bounds area, and will immediately land an aircraft if it gets too close. In other less restricted areas, there’s a limit of how high you can fly based on your distance from the location.
The hope is that this same technology could be applied to warn pilots when their drones approach property of homeowners who would prefer not to have a cameo in their amateur aerial YouTube videos.
As the drone industry has exploded in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration has scrambled to update its rules on the unmanned aircrafts. They’re expected to release a new draft of drone rules in the coming month, that, according to the New York Times, will keep drones from flying above 400 feet and require that a pilot must be in sight at all times.
No Fly Zone is a logical first step to quelling the nation’s personal suspicions of these unmanned aircrafts. But it’s not without flaws. Currently anyone can register any address on NoFlyZone.org. I, for instance, registered Yahoo’s entire New York building without being required to show any proof that I worked there. Not ideal. You’re limited to one location per email address, but there isn’t any safeguard for preventing drone alarmists from generating a crop of fake emails to black out their entire neighborhood. These are problems that will need to be addressed as the site expands and expects to work with larger drone companies.
After all, if people like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul are willing to sic their shotguns on a drone, why not falsify a little data and save the ammo?