In the wake of a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employee’s late-night drunken mischief with a DJi Phantom 2 consumer quadrocopter drone over White House airspace, President Barack Obama called for new laws to govern the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Meanwhile, the company that manufactured the drone used in the ill-fated flight has announced that it will issue a mandatory upgrade to the firmware for its Phantom 2 line of products to make sure that customers comply with the FAA’s no-fly zone around DC.
In a press release issued this morning, DJI announced that the firmware update “will help users comply with the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 0/8326, which restricts unmanned flight around the Washington, DC metropolitan area.The updated firmware (V3.10) will be released in the coming days and adds a No-Fly Zone centered on downtown Washington, DC and extends for a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) radius in all directions. Phantom pilots in this area will not be able to take off from or fly into this airspace.”
DJI’s Phantom 2 drones already have firmware settings that prevent them from being flown near airports and other places where officials have set restrictions on flight. According to the company’s statement, DJI is also continuing to update the no-fly zone list for future firmware releases to prevent flights in other sensitive areas—and to prevent drones from being flown across national borders.
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