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Mar 29, 2017 | News

DJI proposes new electronic license plate for drones

DJI wants to make it easier to identify drones and drone operators. The company has proposed an electronic drone identification framework that give authorities access into drone identify while still respecting the privacy of the operator.

Being able to easily identify drones could provide security and accountability when necessary, according to the company. The FAA was recently tasked with the responsibility to come up with ways to remotely identify operators and owners. DJI believes it has come up with the best solution because it provides a balanced approach that could be adopted by all manufacturers. The company suggests having drones transmit its location and registration number with inexpensive radio equipment that is already on board most drones today.

“DJI understands that accountability is a key part of responsible drone use, and we have outlined a proposal that balances the privacy of drone operators with the legitimate concerns authorities have about some drone operations,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI vice president of policy and legal affairs. “This is another example of how the UAS industry is innovating solutions to emerging concerns, and we look forward to working with other stakeholders on how to implement the best possible system.”

While anyone with the right equipment would be able to obtain the drone’s transmissions, DJI assures that only the proper authorities would be able to identify the user. DJI describes this as a license plate, but for drones. Anyone can see a automobile’s licenses plate as well as identify if they are operating illegally, but only the authorities can trace the automobile back to its owner.

“The best solution is usually the simplest,” DJI wrote in a white paper on its approach. “The focus of the primary method for remote identification should be on a way for anyone concerned about a drone flight in close proximity to report an identifier number to the authorities, who would then have the tools to investigate the complaint without infringing on operator privacy.”