NoFlyZone.org lets you blacklist your home from consumer UAV traffic

February 24, 2015 11:16 | By | Add a Comment

The private website noflyzone.org allows private property owners to put their house and garden onto a blacklist, which will then be used by several multicopter manufacturers in their firmware to establish no-fly zones and prevent their products from being operated within, or fly over, the blacklisted areas.

This is a lot like what DJI is doing with their hardcoded airport locations and certain locations like the white house now being off-limits and blocked on a firmware level.

Listing your property on noflyzone.org is free, however you have to re-confirm your entry once per year. Strangely enough, the website does not require you to provide proof of your claim unless you submit more than one. However, you can also whitelist your property and prevent others from blacklisting it again.

Among the manufacturers using the blacklist data are Horizon Hobby, Hexo+ and PixiePath.

It remains to be seen how useful such a list is. Not only are there ways to circumvent the blacklist, but not all vendors and open source projects are on board with this. And to make matters worse, a lot of fly-away situations happen because of sensor issues (like GPS glitches or the DJI Phantom magnetometer design flaw). During such malfunctions, the craft can and will violate pre-programmed no-fly zones because its navigation is malfunctioning. It feels a lot like “gun free zones”. Knowing that this blacklist won’t prevent malfunctioning drones, nor drones flown with the intent of violating privacy, nor any government UAVs from hovering over your lawn, we have to ask: What’s the point?

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