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Friday, February 13, 2015

NoFlyZone.org Puts a Drone Geofence Around Your Home

As reported by Geek.com: The sky is increasingly filled with drone aircraft, but what about your personal airspace? Are you doomed to have remote controlled flying machines buzzing around above your house all day, watching your every move? NoFlyZone.org aims to provide an alternative by creating a database of places drones ought not to venture.

You can add your home to the database in just a few minutes. Go to the website and input your address along with your contact info. NoFlyZone.org will send you a confirmation email with a link to complete the registration of your own personal no-fly zone.

The operators of NoFlyZone.org seem to be mindful of the privacy-conscious people who will be taking advantage of the service. All you need to enter is the publicly available address and an email (it can even be a throwaway). However, that will also make it rather easy for someone else to register your address.

So what happens when you sign up? Ideally, drone aircraft will refuse to enter areas that have been geo-fenced as no-fly zones in the NoFlyZone.org database. This requires that the makers of drones sign on to support the NoFlyZone.org platform, though. These companies would need to include a setting in the firmware that prevents the drones from impinging on any no-fly zones.

Any drone that lacks GPS or simply doesn’t support NoFlyZone.org would still be able to zip through these areas without trouble.

NoFlyZone.org will only succeed if drone makers get on-board with it. So far HEXO+, Yuneec, and a few others have decided to honor the geo-fences deployed by NoFlyZone.org, but big players like Parrot and JDI haven’t made any moves yet. It’s not going to be an easy problem to solve, even if companies want to play nice with privacy. For example, how can a drone gracefully alert you to a no-fly zone? Should it stop dead no matter what it’s doing? JDI recently tried to update its drones to avoid parts of Washington DC, but bugs resulted in a rollback.

You can sign up for NoFlyZone.org now, even though the skies are not yet teeming with drones. Maybe it’ll catch on.