Update – DJI has clarified that they have always required drone owners to register their drones with them. They are just requiring customers do it again the next time they update the drone’s software and/or firmware. “This allows us to make sure we’re providing the proper data for wherever you’re operating, such as geofencing limits and maximum height ceilings.” They also state that this will not impact things like limits or flight ceilings.
Drone registration was a ruling that the FAA introduced back in 2015, but a recent court ruling has found that the the FAA’s implementation of the rule violated a law that prevented the FAA from interfering with the operation of model aircrafts, and thus as a result non-commercial drones no longer need to be registered with the FAA.
However it seems that this only applies to drones that aren’t made by DJI, which let’s face it, is pretty hard to find considering that DJI is pretty much one of the bigger drone makers around. Basically DJI has announced (via Engadget) that drone owners who are using DJI drones will have to register and activate their drones with the company, and failure to do so will result in your drone’s functionality being throttled.
According to the company, “DJI will soon introduce a new application activation process for international customers. This new step, to take effect at the end of this week, ensures you will use the correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft, as determined by your geographical location and user profile.”
For drone owners who refuse to register or activate their drones with DJI, “If this activation process is not performed, the aircraft will not have access to the correct geospatial information and flight functions for that region, and its operations will be restricted if you update the upcoming firmware: Live camera streaming will be disabled, and flight will be limited to a 50-meter (164-foot) radius up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.”
So while your drone won’t be completely disabled, it won’t be fully functional either. We’re pretty sure there will be quite a few angry drone owners who might protest this, but what do you guys think?