Some are calling it a license plate system for drones to identify themselves, which becomes essential to safety. Some may recall that license plates were added to cars because they had a tendency to look all the same, cause havoc and disaster/death, and be able to drive away unidentified.
Incidentally (pun not intended) this is why license plates really are not needed for things like bicycles and motorcycles, which tend neither to get away nor be hard to identify uniquely.
The new drone-based system is leveraging past wireless protocol work and trying to get adoption before a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) July 2020 deadline for remote ID.
DJI’s system was built to conform to the forthcoming ASTM International standard for broadcast drone remote ID, developed over a period of 18 months by a broad group of industry and government stakeholders. The solution uses the Wi-Fi Aware protocol for mobile phones, which allows the phones to receive and use the Wi-Fi signals directly from the drones without having to complete a two-way connection. Because it does not need to connect to a Wi-Fi base station, a cellular network or any other external system, it works in rural areas with no telecom service. In DJI’s preliminary testing, the Wi-Fi Aware signals can be received from more than one kilometer away.
This is a small step towards dealing with the increasing illegal use of drones:
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, aerial firefighting efforts have been shut down at least nine times this year because of drone use, and at least 20 drone incursions have hindered firefighting capabilities nationwide from January through October. A report shared with The Times showed that of those 20 incursions, five were in California.
The next step is intercepting, demanding ID to check for authorization, and disabling upon wrong response just like it’s 1962 again.