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DJI discusses Drone-to-Phone tech and pilot privacy

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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As the March 2nd deadline approaches for public comment regarding the FAA's proposals for Remote I.D., a new article appeared in which DJI talks pilot location, drone-to-phone, and remote ID
and they seem to be on the right track.

Congress mandated the requirement to remotely identify all UASs, so that part is a done deed. However, the way in which it is implemented is the key to sustaining our hobby and, as DJI points out, the FAA's proposal will be costly, complex and fraught with problems whereas Drone-to-Phone can be quickly and easily employed at little or no cost while providing the mandated information. I particularly like that they have heard our concerns about showing pilot location to anyone other than officials with a need to know. I also like their suggestion that the FAA include wording that would make interfering with a UAS pilot at any stage of flight would be a criminal offense just as it would on board a manned aircraft.
 

RotorWash

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Thanks for sharing this I B Spectre, interesting read. Also worth a look is this recent video with Rick from Drone Valley discussing the topic:

 

Spark 317

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DJI drones only?
 

jimlips

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They are going to have to come up with something else. Imagine this scenario:

You are out flying your drone in a park, a remote mountain, or around a lake.
Paranoid person sees your drone incidentally pass over or fly near his back yard. Paranoid person uses the app on their phone to identify your drone and exactly where you, the Pilot In Command is standing, flying the drone.
He walks over to you, armed, and either: confronts you, argues with you, threatens you, or (worse case), shoots you.

This was all made possible by the new "law".

This very thing happened to me last weekend. I was flying up in a State park, where there was an old fire lookout. I was orbiting the lookout (non-manned), and a guy comes over to me with his dog. He asks what I am doing. I told him I was photographing the lookout. He claims I flew over his back yard (I never even saw his house in the woods), and that his neighbor has a drone, and "looks in his windows" all the time. He wanted to make sure his neighbor did not hire me. He claims his neighbor is "tightly wound". I think he is a little confused on who is "tightly wound". I was done flying, so I came in, landed, and left. I was friendly the whole time, and told him I was just photographing the old lookout. He didn't seem happy.

Sending my location data to the police is fine. But to anyone with an app on their phone, no way.
 

RotorWash

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The tech behind this app is known as Wi-Fi Aware which was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and is available for any manufacturer to implement into their current systems. How this would play out for FPV self-built craft I'm not sure but if this went forward hopefully there would be some form of module that could be integrated onboard.
 
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RotorWash

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They are going to have to come up with something else. Imagine this scenario:

You are out flying your drone in a park, a remote mountain, or around a lake.
Paranoid person sees your drone incidentally pass over or fly near his back yard. Paranoid person uses the app on their phone to identify your drone and exactly where you, the Pilot In Command is standing, flying the drone.
He walks over to you, armed, and either: confronts you, argues with you, threatens you, or (worse case), shoots you.

This was all made possible by the new "law".

This very thing happened to me last weekend. I was flying up in a State park, where there was an old fire lookout. I was orbiting the lookout (non-manned), and a guy comes over to me with his dog. He asks what I am doing. I told him I was photographing the lookout. He claims I flew over his back yard (I never even saw his house in the woods), and that his neighbor has a drone, and "looks in his windows" all the time. He wanted to make sure his neighbor did not hire me. He claims his neighbor is "tightly wound". I think he is a little confused on who is "tightly wound". I was done flying, so I came in, landed, and left. I was friendly the whole time, and told him I was just photographing the old lookout. He didn't seem happy.

Sending my location data to the police is fine. But to anyone with an app on their phone, no way.
One side-effect of this proposed solution by DJI is it has a lot of pilots talking about the negative aspects of the general public knowing the pilot's location during flight. Even DJI themselves have stated how this is not a good idea for pilot security but they included it in the app as the FAA "may" want that capability.

Hopefully the thousands of comments the FAA have already received will help sway them from this possibility. Most pilots don't have an issue with law enforcement knowing their location but giving the public this information is, as we all know, just asking for trouble. Even showing the flight path to the pubic is an issue as from that you can easily ascertain where the craft took off from. I'm sure the app could be modified so only police would have that particular info.
 
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Miket

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I feel very strongly about this and as an ex police officer I regard law enforcement as a benefit to the public and pilots alike. But the general public contains many different personalities, including what could be described as less than responsible. A freely available app which could be used to determine the location of a pilot of an unmanned craft could make the pilot open to all kinds of interference, even theft of equipment. Our equipment can be worth quite a lot of money, and could be an attractive target, particularly in quiet or remote areas, which we are, let's face it, being encouraged and restricted to fly in.
If this came into force, I would have to make a decision to either abandon my hobby, or fly illegally.
 

Spark 317

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Our equipment can be worth quite a lot of money, and could be an attractive target, particularly in quiet or remote areas, which we are, let's face it, being encouraged and restricted to fly in.
If this came into force, I would have to make a decision to either abandon my hobby, or fly illegally.
I hear ya, and agree.

This application will allow some knucklehead with ill intent to ruin the flight.

Do I want to be a drone pilot or a drone pirate in the future? ☮ 🏴‍☠️
 
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graywoulf

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The tech behind this app is known as Wi-Fi Aware which was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and is available for any manufacturer to implement into their current systems. How this would play out for FPV self-built craft I'm not sure but if this went forward hopefully there would be some form of module that could be integrated onboard.
I guess I will find out about the self built situation some day soon. I plan on getting into FPV cinematic flying and building my own mini quad.
 

RotorWash

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I guess I will find out about the self built situation some day soon. I plan on getting into FPV cinematic flying and building my own mini quad.
Same plans here as well graywoulf, looks way too much fun not to.
 
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RotorWash

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