DJI Phantom drones can’t enter no-fly zones after firmware update

The Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Photo courtesy of DJI

While the issue of whether the FAA has control over drone regulations has gone back and forth, an advisory issue in 1981 has stuck: don’t fly drones above 400 feet or near airports.

DJI, maker of the popular Phantom line of consumer quadcopter drones, just issued a firmware update that makes the airport rule unavoidable. Drones are now programmed with airport boundaries, meaning they won’t cross into forbidden airspace even if directed to.

Examples of no fly zones in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy of DJI/Google Maps.

Examples of no fly zones in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy of DJI/Google Maps.

Consumer drones have stirred controversy for their potential to create danger in crowded public spaces or protected areas like airports. DJI’s inclusion of no-fly zones is just one example of how drone makers can prevent users from flying dangerously.

The firmware update applies to existing DJI Phantom drones and the new Phantom Vision+, which was revealed Monday at the NAB conference in Las Vegas. The Vision+ costs $100 more than the Vision, with added features like stability in winds up to 25 miles per hour, higher speed and farther WiFi connectivity.

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