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Juggernaut DJI to Equip All Commercial Drones with AirSense ADS-B Receivers by 2020

BY Alan Perlman
23 May 2019

This week, drone manufacturer DJI — a Shenzhen-based juggernaut that powers more than 70% of the commercial drone industry — announced that by the year 2020, they would be implementing ADS-B (Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) receivers into each of their commercial drone models.

dji airsense ads-b

ADS-B is a technology used by manned aircraft like helicopters and airplanes to automatically broadcast their position to both other aircraft and to air traffic controllers for real-time precision and situational awareness.

FAA to Require ADS-B to Fly in Controlled Airspace

Today in the U.S., it’s not required for every manned aircraft in the sky to be broadcasting with ADS-B technology. But by January 1, 2020, the FAA is requiring aircraft to be equipped with ADS-B “Out” to be allowed to fly in most controlled Class A, B, C, D, and Class E airspace.

To clarify, DJI’s integration of ADS-B into their drones, an integration that’s being branded as DJI AirSense, only equips the drones to receive signals. Not to broadcast, only to automatically listen for nearby manned aircraft that are sharing their position with ADS-B “out” broadcast. And that’s fine, since the FAA is only mandating the ADS-B adoption for manned aircraft, not for drones.

DJI Flysafe – AirSense: The Next Step in Airspace Safety

But it’s still a step forward when it comes to airspace safety and stronger situational awareness for drone pilots. It’s worth noting that the DJI software doesn’t automatically cause the drone to move away from a larger aircraft. That decision would be made by the remote pilot-in-command.

DJI already has AirSense technology installed on some of the company’s more professional drone models, like the Matrice 200 and Mavic 2 Enterprise.

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