In an effort to push for data transparency in the drone industry, DJI is working on a mobile application that would allow anyone with a smartphone to track and identify nearby drones. Upon regulatory approval, the application could launch sometime in 2020 and will be free of charge.
DJI claims that the smartphone app would be capable of tracking a drone within a 1km range. If detected, it would also display the drone’s information such as its registered aircraft ID, current altitude, speed, direction of travel, and even the location of its operator. The company also added that the app would be able to track its own drones, as well as those from other manufacturers.
In order to effectively track activity without having to complete a two-way connection to the drones, DJI designed the app to use the Wi-Fi Aware protocol for mobile devices. This enables a smartphone to receive and use the Wi-Fi signal directly from detected drones.
According to DJI vice president of policy and legal affairs Brendan Schulman, the goal of the application’s release is to detect and prevent misused drones that could threaten an individual’s privacy. The ability to check a drone’s ID and operator would tremendously aid users to identify media or commercial registered drones and privately owned or suspicious ones that are in flight nearby.