Get The Facts

Get The Facts: DJI AeroScope

A U.S. manufacturer of drone airspace management products - a competitor of DJI Aeroscope - recently published an article criticizing AeroScope’s security. We address their claims below, in line with our ongoing commitment to clarify inaccuracies and allegations launched against DJI in public.

First, what is DJI AeroScope?

While the majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, people are understandably concerned when a drone flies in a sensitive or restricted location. AeroScope was developed in 2017 to provide authorities with a tool to find out basic information about drones of interest – its flight path, the location of its pilot, and identifying information like a serial number or registration number. 

Every DJI drone automatically transmits AeroScope information; users are not able to turn the signal off because that would defeat AeroScope’s purpose of promoting accountable and responsible drone use. Unlike other DJI drone data, the AeroScope signal was originally unencrypted by design, since it is meant to be easily processed by a receiver that may not be nearby. And while it was not encrypted, it was protected by a proprietary signal protocol that is not easily understood. 

DJI only sold AeroScope to authorized users such as airports and secure sites such as prisons. However, DJI became aware that other manufacturers had started to read the signal and were selling receiving technology more widely. In 2023, DJI decided to switch AeroScope to an encrypted protocol and asked customers to upgrade their equipment in order to reflect the latest firmware version and continue to be able to detect DJI drones.

Competitor’s Claims

This competitor claimed that DJI’s latest upgrade module makes Aeroscope a “national security threat” as it added “Chinese government specified encryption to the signals” and makes DJI drones invisible to Aeroscope units that have not yet been upgraded, enabling “DJI and the Chinese government to hide drones” according to their geographic location and serial number. 


Get The Facts

  • The “Chinese government specified encryption” they are referring to is SM2 encryption. This was initially developed in line with China’s national standard in 2010, but since 2017 has been adopted by international organizations and standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as part of ISO/IEC 14888. 

  • DJI has proactively communicated to its customers and dealer network that upgrading their hardware through its latest module is critical to ensure compatibility with future DJI drones, which would be transmitting information via the upgraded protocol.

    To be clear: DJI pioneered Aeroscope - the first drone identification solution - to help drones become more visible to authorities who patrol the skies, similar to traffic police on a main road. Accusing DJI of using Aeroscope to “hide” drones is not just illogical but also goes against our early investments into this solution - which helped pave the way towards Remote ID - in the first place.

The Way Forward

Pioneering drone safety initiatives has been a longstanding priority of DJI and we will continue to invest in efforts that support safe and secure skies for all. 

 

deco_line

 

Get The Facts is a content series where we raise, and address, allegations and misconceptions lodged against DJI in the public domain. We invite you to view other articles in the series by visiting ViewPoints, The Official DJI Blog.

 

Topics: Get The Facts

Related articles

DJI to Disable Flight Records Sync in the U.S. and Remove Thumbnail Previews Globally

Newsroom Get The Facts

Get The Facts: U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Hearing on Law Enforcement Use of Drones

Get The Facts

Get The Facts: DJI in the United States

Get The Facts