Late last week DJI announced an update to its process for activating new software and firmware releases and social media channels have lit up with confusion and annoyance. The change in process ties flight functionality to activation of the software. DJI in a notice issued this past Saturday states, “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.” That’s confusing.
And users are irked. These rules apply to all DJI drones running the latest firmware. DJI is stating that the revised process is intended to ensure that you are using “correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft, as determined by your geographical location and user profile.”
It comes across as an effort by DJI to address ability of users to fly illegally (e.g. trespass into restricted airspace, etc). This is being interpreted by users as an attempt to appease the FAA . As one Facebook user stated:
WTF? Well, we all saw this comin [sic] down the pipe at some point? Obviously, DJI is “In the sheets” with the FAA who just lost their “Hobbyist” Drone Registration requirement in appeals court. So, what direct effect will this new MANDATORY firmware update have on your UAS?
In a phone call with DroneLife Adam Lisberg, DJI’s North American Corporate Communication Director, said that the procedure was a simple one. All users are required to create a login when they first purchase and activate a DJI drone. This process simply asks that they log in again in order to set the correct geospatial information for their location. It is a requirement that is being rolled out internationally to address the differences that exist between countries (e.g. altitude restrictions etc.). In event that users forget their login, they can reset their password or create a new account. “We’re alerting customers to be sure they’re connected to the Internet when they first use the app after the next updates, because they’ll need to log in again. Don’t update your firmware/software and then head somewhere without data coverage to fly!”
Here is the full text of DJI’s notice.
Notice from DJI
DJI Updates Process For Activating Software And Firmware Updates
New Procedure Requires Login After Update; Password Reset Available
DJI will soon introduce a new application activation process for international customers. This new step, to take effect at the end of next 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.
Even if you have registered when activating your aircraft upon purchase, you will have to log in once when you update the new version of DJI GO or GO 4 App. If you have forgotten your password since your initial login, you can reset it using a function within the DJI GO and DJI GO 4 apps.
You will need a data connection to the Internet for your smartphone or tablet when you log in, in order to verify the account information and activate the updated software or firmware. 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.
The feature applies to all aircraft (except standalone A3 and N3) that have been upgraded to the latest firmware or when using future versions of the DJI GO and GO 4 apps.
DJI encourages pilots to always follow applicable laws and regulations in the countries where they operate, and provides information about these regulations on its FlySafe website at flysafe.dji.com.