Just in case someone attempts to fly a drone over Iraq and Syria, DJI has made sure it will not happen.
DJI added parts of Iraq and Syria to its No-Fly Zone or NFZ list. It means DJI-made drones will be prevented from flying in and around the war-torn region, which is currently embroiled in a war. Several news reports stated that terrorist organizations like the Islamic State had been using weaponized drones to cause destruction, prompting countries like France to take drones down using eagles.
Iraq And Syria: No-Fly Zone
DJI quietly updated its no-fly zone list, adding Syria and Iraq. The list is an extensive log of names and maps around the world where drones are prohibited. The list includes airports, stadiums, and "warning areas" (i.e. military bases).
According to DJI, an NFZ is a safety feature in the drone's software that limits flight capability and range due to safety and security reasons. As written on the company's website:
"NFZ will in many cases warn you about these areas if you fly towards them, or try to takeoff within them. In certain locations, the device will automatically be prevented from takeoff, or if already in flight towards the location, will pause at the boundary and not enter."
The NFZ is an "informational feature" but it is not 100 percent updated. Thus, it falls on the user to be responsible enough to know the area's regulations regarding drone operation, like securing government permit.
Drones And Terrorism
This addition of war-torn Iraq and Syria in DJI's blacklist of drone operations is not surprising, considering the level of danger in the said region. The move by DJI can also be seen as a PR move for the company, as it recently figured in news reports about terrorist organizations like the Islamic State using drones in their operations. The organization has been using drones not only for reconnaissance but possibly as weapon for dropping bombs or as explosive device itself.
DJI was mentioned in the reports, citing the popularity of its drones like the DJI Phantom. The Chinese company is one of the biggest manufacturers of drones in the market today. The drone is readily available online, which can explain why terrorists get their hands on one unit easily.
When reached about the no-fly zone updates vis-à-vis terrorism, DJI gave this statement:
"DJI makes products purely for peaceful purposes, which is how the overwhelming majority of pilots use them, and we deplore any use of our drones to bring harm to anyone. Our geofencing system is designed to advise pilots of airspace restrictions, and was never intended to enforce laws or thwart people who want to misuse our products. Certain areas vital for aviation safety or national security are marked as restricted in our geofencing system, and we are constantly adjusting those areas to account for temporary conditions that create special restrictions, such as wildfires and major public events."