DJI has demonstrated a direct drone-to-phone, Wi-Fi based solution to remotely identify airborne drones, “pioneering an easy way for anyone with a smartphone to monitor nearby drones for enhanced safety, security and peace of mind,” says the company. According to a DJI press release:
“DJI’s remote identification solution, developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders and regulators, broadcasts information from drones directly to off-the-shelf mobile phones using existing Wi-Fi protocols. Using a simple app, anyone within radio range of the drone can receive that signal and learn the location, altitude, speed and direction of the drone, as well as an identification number for the drone and the location of the pilot.”
“Remote ID functions as an electronic license plate for drones, allowing anyone who is curious about a drone in the sky to learn more about what it’s doing,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “Around the world, aviation authorities have said remote ID is the key to allowing more complex drone use, and to solving concerns about safety and security. DJI’s direct drone-to-phone remote ID shows we’re committed to providing a solution in a way that is instantly usable worldwide without any additional infrastructure.”
The press release states that DJI demonstrated the direct drone-to-phone remote ID system at a park in Montreal, Canada, during the International Civil Aviation Organization’s third annual Drone Enable conference. Participants used standard phones from Samsung, Google and Xiaomi to receive Wi-Fi Aware signals from a DJI Mavic Air drone and a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drone.
“Our direct drone-to-phone solution is an easy and elegant solution for drone pilots. They will be able to comply with Remote ID expectations simply by updating the software on many drones already in widespread use, without any extra cost or equipment,” said Javier Caina, DJI Director of Technical Standards. “In contrast, remote ID solutions that require pilots to add telecommunications equipment, subscribe to an ID service provider, connect to a cell tower or buy a data plan for their drone will create new costs and barriers for beneficial drone operations. DJI’s direct drone-to-phone solution uses the latest technological advances to make remote ID compliance as easy and inexpensive as possible.”
“As more drones take to the skies every day, remote ID addresses the public’s interest in understanding what’s happening in the airspace,” said Christian Struwe, DJI Policy Director, Europe. “DJI’s drone-to-phone implementation helps accomplish that by allowing drone pilots to broadcast a simple description of their flights, so anyone viewing the smartphone app can understand that they are inspecting a roof, surveying a construction site, or performing another beneficial task with a drone.”
The company says DJI’s system was built to conform to the forthcoming ASTM International standard for broadcast drone remote ID, developed over a period of 18 months by a broad group of industry and government stakeholders. The solution uses the Wi-Fi Aware protocol for mobile phones, which allows the phones to receive and use the Wi-Fi signals directly from the drones without having to complete a two-way connection. Because it does not need to connect to a Wi-Fi base station, a cellular network or any other external system, it works in rural areas with no telecom service. In DJI’s preliminary testing, the Wi-Fi Aware signals can be received from more than one kilometer away.
“Wi-Fi is the premiere way to connect devices in the modern era, and we are pleased that Wi-Fi Aware from Wi-Fi Alliance® provides a reliable, virtually cost-free solution for drone Remote ID that can be implemented in many drones with just a software update,” said Wi-Fi Alliance, a worldwide network of more than 850 companies. “Wi-Fi Alliance will help facilitate broad industry collaboration on implementation of Wi-Fi Aware as this solution is adopted by manufacturers and policymakers.”
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