‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’ aired July 1st and DJI has taken concern with the way it portrays drones.

Da Jiang Improvements Science and Know-how, greatest referred to as DJI, is the world’s prime drone producer. They’ve lately lodged a proper grievance in opposition to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) information outlet for portraying drones in a unfavorable mild in a sequence of investigative documentary movies. DJI claims the BBC’s reviews had been primarily based on ‘rumour’ and fell wanting their ‘public remit to tell, educate and entertain.’ In response, the BBC claims it depicted drones in a optimistic mild and that the content material put forth in its applications was truthful.

In an open letter to the BBC, surpassing 2,300 phrases, DJI addressed its objections to 2 separate documentaries; the Panorama report, broadcast this previous April, that lined the Gatwick airport shutdown and the Horizon report titled ‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’ which aired July 1st. ‘We really feel it’s our responsibility on behalf of the tens of millions of accountable drone customers across the globe, to specific our deep disappointment on the BBC’s unfavorable portrayal of drone know-how[….]this now appears to be a longtime sample of reporting by the BBC,’ reads the letter. Additionally talked about was how DJI was approached by the Panorama and Horizon manufacturing groups to supply enter. Nearly none of it was used.

Amongst the various complaints lodged in opposition to the Horizon documentary, whose perceived shortcomings are lined in a whole part of the prolonged open letter, DJI states that the BBC neglected many vital security options of its drones, which had been closely featured, together with:

  • Geofencing – the Horizon program centered extra on ‘simple methods to get round it’
  • AeroScope (their Distant ID resolution) – the documentary didn’t point out this industry-wide safety characteristic for monitoring drone exercise, particularly round airports
  • ADS-B – this system didn’t acknowledge this initiative that detects manned plane, close by, and alerts the drone operator

DJI additionally made some extent to reference quite a few false, unverified reviews of drone sightings from its ‘Elevating Security: Defending the Skies within the Drone Period’ white paper, revealed this previous Could. ‘Having these reviews revealed in trusted media creates a situation of misinformation probably extra harmful than faux information in regards to the drone {industry},’ states DJI within the letter.

Although not a part of DJI’s formal grievance in opposition to the information community, this video, aired six months in the past, is an instance of how they’ve portrayed drones in an unfavorable mild.

The BBC issued the next response: ‘Within the wake of the disaster at Gatwick Airport final 12 months – and the robust public curiosity on this – we imagine our Horizon investigation into the know-how behind drones, and whether or not the associated UK security measures are enough, was justified, truthful and neutral. The movie doesn’t declare that drone know-how is unsafe, however slightly that it may be used maliciously when within the incorrect arms. Certainly, as drone customers ourselves, the BBC is effectively conscious of the optimistic advantages of them when used appropriately.’

The whole lot of DJI’s open letter addressed to BBC’s basic director, Tony Corridor, might be discovered under:


‘Expensive Lord Nego Corridor of Birkenhead,

This open-letter precedes DJI’s official response by way of the BBC’s grievance course of on the problems of impartiality and accuracy. Will probably be revealed on each public DJI channels and shared with media organisations as of at the moment, Thursday 4th July.

Because the world’s chief in civilian drones and aerial imaging know-how, we really feel it’s our responsibility on behalf of the tens of millions of accountable drone customers across the globe, to specific our deep disappointment on the BBC’s unfavorable portrayal of drone know-how and one-sided reporting primarily based on rumour. This now appears to be a longtime sample of reporting by the BBC, with such bias showing each throughout Panorama’s ‘The Gatwick Drone Assault’ that aired 15th April 2019, and extra lately throughout Horizon’s ‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’ aired 1st July 2019.

The BBC is a public service broadcaster whose remit is to ‘inform, educate, and entertain.’ We strongly imagine that each these programmes fall very wanting informing and educating viewers in an neutral and correct method. It’s the BBC’s responsibility to color a extra nuanced image of the occasions at Gatwick, given that there’s nonetheless no agency conclusion as a result of lack of bodily proof or any photographic materials to show {that a} drone was even the precise reason behind the disruptions, and due to this fact no info upon which to analyse the precise danger or menace to aviation. In relation to ‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’, solely about one minute of an hour-long programme was given to the multitude of advantages that drone know-how has to supply society.

DJI was approached by each the Panorama and Horizon manufacturing groups and supplied loads of enter together with an interview with our Head of Coverage for Europe. Nevertheless, nearly not one of the materials was included in both programme. We’ve to imagine it is because the BBC finally most popular to spice up viewing figures by specializing in sensational, high-risk situations which can be vanishingly uncommon or nearly unattainable, whereas ignoring proof that drone know-how is protected and that the drone {industry} itself has carried out varied options to mitigate the dangers described. This can’t be construed as balanced or neutral in anybody’s e book.

‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’

‘Britain’s Subsequent Air Catastrophe? Drones’ particularly, the narrative of the documentary was already set in selecting an ex-marine to host the programme. All through the programme this navy background was referred to time and time once more to determine some form of justification for his experience to speak knowledgeably on the matter of drone know-how. This clearly framed the problem as a navy concern proper from the very begin. The documentary nearly completely centered on threats and dangers posed by drones, and the final tone of the documentary was overwhelmingly unfavorable, with the presenter ceaselessly utilizing the phrases ‘catastrophic’ and ‘terrifying’. Though at no level was DJI explicitly named, the programme ceaselessly confirmed DJI-branded drones in a really unfavorable mild, fully overshadowing what DJI has achieved within the drone {industry}, our many security and security measures, and the impeccable security file of the {industry}.

Within the programme, there have been many situations the place the state of affairs was closely skewed to painting the ‘hazard of drones’. The programme abstract prompt that airtime could be given to the optimistic functions of drones. Nevertheless, the ratio of dialogue on this versus danger was worryingly disproportionate and in lots of instances unevidenced regardless of ample proof being obtainable. The presenter referred to ‘limitless optimistic makes use of’ of drones, however solely fleetingly made reference to 4 or 5 functions. We’d prefer to take this chance to deal with simply a few of these segments:

Affect Evaluation Testing

The Affect Evaluation testing proven on the programme can solely be described as disturbing. When conducting scientific analysis regarding aviation danger, it’s basically vital {that a} collision situation replicate real-world inputs, particularly as to the bodily nature of the objects colliding. The Horizon programme did the precise reverse, relying upon a man-made amalgam of a drone battery, and randomly positioned inflexible carbon-fibre rods, glued collectively. There isn’t any conceivable approach that this synthetic “Frankendrone” offers any helpful details about collision danger. Beforehand, DJI raised objections about testing sponsored by BALPA involving the artificiality of the javelin-like object used of their collision check, in addition to the College of Dayton Analysis Institute video involving speeds in extra of the capabilities of the drone and plane. In distinction, the place analysis has been thorough and scientific, equivalent to within the case of the FAA’s ASSURE programme, we’ve got supported the ensuing information that’s informative to the {industry} and the general public. The ASSURE analysis confirmed that small drones don’t pose a catastrophic danger to plane in flight. Certainly, ASSURE’s analysis reveals that the construction of a typical drone causes elastic flexing, dissipating and absorbing impression power. Nevertheless, by modifying the bodily development of the “drone,” the check turns into instantly scientifically invalid.

Compounding the disturbing check is the selection of plane element. The testing proven within the Horizon programme concerned outdated components from small planes that carry one to 5 passengers. These outcomes had been then used to counsel the danger of a drone coming into contact with a contemporary business airliner carrying 250 plus folks. Moreover, the Horizon exams had been carried out on the identical piece of airplane. It’s greater than possible that the construction was weaker for the second check, when it had already been subjected to heavy impression from the gelatin chicken. Though it was acknowledged that the outdated small airplane components used for the check weren’t the identical as would possible be present in newer extra subtle plane and that the probability of such a collision with a drone was ‘fairly low’, the section nonetheless cited BALPA saying that they believed that such a collision might end in an plane really crashing. The place was the balanced perspective of a well-informed voice from {industry} who might communicate to the science of those exams?

Airprox Board Report

A piece of the documentary was devoted to Airprox Board reviews, referring to 125 near-collisions between plane and drones that had been reported in 2018, and particularly going into element about one reported incident in July 2016 the place a drone allegedly got here inside 20m from an A320 above the Shard constructing in London (at 4,900 toes altitude and 180 knots pace (207 mph)). The Airprox Board, which accepts all pilot reviews at face worth, didn’t independently consider whether or not the pilot might have made such cautious observations at that pace, or how possible it was to have seen a drone at that altitude as a substitute of a chicken, as did the producers of this documentary. The proof behind these reviews is taken as truth. Nevertheless, the outcomes of a Freedom of Info request to the Airprox Board from final month states:

“in all instances, UK Airprox Board (UKAB) has no affirmation {that a} drone has flown near an plane aside from the report made by the pilot(s).

Equally, aside from from the report of the pilot(s), UKAB has no affirmation {that a} drone was concerned.”

On pages 15 onwards of our ‘Elevating Security: Defending the Skies within the Drone Period’ you can find quite a few examples from all over the world the place a drone has been falsely reported to be concerned in an plane near-miss or collision incident, particularly Romeoville, Illinois, August 2015; London, April 2016; Mozambique, January 2017; Sedona, Arizona, February 2017; Adelaide, Australia, July 2017; Waihi, New Zealand, March 2018; Boston, January 2015; Los Angeles, March 2016; Toronto, November 2016; Auckland, New Zealand, April 2018. Opposite to all of those false or unsubstantiated reviews, and the tens of millions of flying hours clocked up by civilian drone customers all over the world, there have solely been two confirmed incidents of a drone coming into contact with a helicopter, and each landed safely.

Having these reviews revealed in trusted media creates a situation of misinformation probably extra harmful than faux information in regards to the drone {industry}. For regulators, elected officers and drone firms attempting to make drones safer, inaccurate information tales aren’t simply deceptive. They hurt the method of bettering security, as a result of they focus consideration on outrageous occasions that didn’t occur, as a substitute of on aviation dangers that could be much less sensational however far more prevalent. Additionally they result in stricter regulation, which curtails drone operations, and ends in fewer lives saved utilizing drone know-how. Fairly actually the BBC’s sensational false reporting on drone dangers might itself value lives.

As we element in Half 2 of our Elevating Security report, there are various research which elevate doubts about pilot drone sightings. Educational analysis offers robust proof that the account of an airplane pilot alone will not be enough to determine {that a} drone was flown in shut proximity to a standard plane: Pilots of airplanes transferring at 150 mph or sooner typically have lower than a fraction of a second to establish sudden objects close to them, and human response time can’t reliably permit them to find out what that object is. Aviation specialists have lengthy realised the bounds of “detect and keep away from,” the well-established requirement for airplane and helicopter pilots to maintain a vigilant lookout for different plane. Lengthy earlier than the arrival of drones, a 1991 Australian Transport Security Bureau analysis report warned, “The bodily limitations of the human eye are such that even probably the most cautious search doesn’t assure that site visitors shall be sighted.” Towards that backdrop, researchers have begun learning the bounds of pilots’ potential to identify drones, particularly common client drones smaller than one meter throughout. One research of human visible acuity concluded plane pilots had lower than a 10 % probability of recognizing a small drone close by, even in superb situations. It modelled the behaviour of the human eye and the way quite a lot of drones would seem in numerous situations to achieve basic conclusions about their visibility.

Security and Safety Options

The overwhelming majority of drones in common use have security options that deter and forestall the danger situations described within the Horizon documentary.

From our inception 13 years in the past, DJI has been at the forefront of technological innovation, serving to to advertise and form what’s at the moment a civilian drone {industry} nonetheless in its infancy. Whether or not used for development, inspection, emergency response, agriculture, conservation, filming or every other {industry}, the complete potential of drone know-how is but to be seen. Sadly, this know-how is in peril of being stifled by misrepresentation and scare mongering within the UK media.

DJI has launched security options and know-how together with geofencing at airports, energy vegetation and prisons; most altitude limits; impediment sensing know-how; a return-to-home characteristic; information testing of recent drone pilots; distant identification to allow safety responses (AeroScope); and our new dedication to increasing our present implementation of ADS-B receivers that detect close by conventional plane and alert drone pilots to attainable collision dangers. Briefly, security is a forefront consideration of every part we and different producers do.

Nevertheless, the Horizon programme ignored many of those options:


This was nearly completely neglected within the programme which centered totally on “simple methods to get round it.”

Distant ID resolution (AeroScope)

We’ve motive to imagine that AeroScope was not in use throughout the early levels of latest airport sightings within the UK, however hope that will probably be extra broadly deployed within the curiosity of security and safety. One of many key initiatives of the {industry}, and one among our ten Elevating Security factors, is for extra producers to implement distant identification features. Watching the Horizon documentary, you’d by no means know that an industry-wide resolution is underneath improvement, and that the overwhelming majority of civilian drones have already got the characteristic carried out.


DJI drones for enterprise use (M200 sequence and Mavic 2 Enterprise) already characteristic DJI AirSense, a built-in ADS-B receiver, enhancing airspace security by robotically offering the operator with real-time details about the place, altitude and velocity of close by manned plane outfitted with ADS-B transmitters. AirSense allows safer and extra environment friendly use of airspace, significantly in areas the place different manned plane could also be working.

In our Elevating Security report, DJI prompt a 10-point plan which goals to make sure the world’s skies stay protected within the drone period. Simply one among these factors is a dedication that every one new DJI drone fashions launched after January 1, 2020 that weigh greater than 250 grams will embrace AirSense know-how. This would be the largest single deployment of ADS-B collision prevention know-how up to now and units a brand new customary by placing professional-grade aviation security know-how in drones obtainable to everybody. This was very briefly referenced within the Horizon programme as, “the largest producer of drones has lately pledged to put in new know-how that can warn the operator if they look like on a collision course”. Nevertheless, the programme didn’t acknowledge that this initiative is a large achievement for the {industry} or to elucidate its full significance.


Despite the fact that all of the above info was supplied to the programme’s researcher, and we mentioned with the manufacturing direct enter from DJI, solely ADS-B and geofencing had been briefly talked about and the latter, as outlined, in a disparaging mild.

We discover it, fairly frankly, unfair and extremely biased {that a} documentary taking a look at drones doesn’t embrace a response from DJI, any drone producer or any drone affiliation such because the Drone Producers’ Alliance Europe or ARPAS.

We might welcome the chance to work with the BBC on a ‘Drones For Good’ documentary which might search to go a way in addressing the stability in a presently extraordinarily one-sided, unfavorable media panorama. We additionally request that subsequent time a BBC unit is engaged on a drone-related programme, our voice and people of our {industry} friends be included at size and intimately, in order that the programme can fulfill the BBC’s mission to be an neutral, unbiased, correct and dependable supply of knowledge.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Barbara Stelzner Director, Advertising and marketing and Company Communication’



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