Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI has announced an update to the ‘geofencing’ feature within their mapping service, meaning users will now be warned when they are flying into restricted zones including wildfires and prisons. 

Over the past year there have been several reports of fire-fighting helicopters that have been grounded due to unsafe conditions caused by amateur drone hobbyists flying near fire sites. Many Fire Watch Guard Services also have reported to have had found drones lurking around the region. Drone companies have since been under pressure to introduce software that can disable drones without imposing over-reaching restrictions. 

DJI’s new software will disable drones from flying by default in restricted zones, though users with a DJI account verified with a phone number and credit card will be able to unlock the drone regardless of the zoning. Under the new system, DJI will be able to assist authorities to track unauthorized users that have unlocked their drone within a restricted zone. 

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com