A California-based company is trying to give American homeowners a way to protect their privacy from drones ahead of flight regulations from the federal government.
NoFlyZone has launched a global database where private residents can register their property as a no-drone fly area.
How it works: residents enter their address in an online database on NoFlyZone.org and create a virtual barrier, or geo-fence, around their property. Drone companies participating in NoFlyZone’s consortium then honor the request for privacy.
In the next 10 years, company CEO Ben Marcus expects drones to be used as commonly as cellphones, but he said the ever-advancing technology comes with legitimate privacy concerns.
“[The Federal Aviation Administration] does a tremendous job of managing safety, but it’s never had privacy as a mandate,” he said. “This is an issue our industry wants to take on and solve using the technology we have available to us rather than regulation.”
The company said seven manufacturers and suppliers — EHANG, DroneDeploy, YUNEEC, HEXO+, PixiePath, RCFlyMaps and Horizon Hobby — have already agreed to honour requests and create exclusion zones.
“We can be self regulating on this issue,” Marcus said. “We already have the technology to create geofence exclusion zones like the one around White House, but now we’re expanding that technology to private property.”
Though free for private residents, the for-profit company hopes to generate future revenue by offering premium services like the ability to set airspace preferences — say no to camera drones for example, but yes to drone deliveries from companies like Amazon, now experimenting with the technology.
People who live near a blocked property and wish to fly their own drone, for example, must provide proof of residency.
NoFlyZone then unblocks that airspace, and people can unblock their property at any time.
The updates to the database aren’t made automatically, however.
The site sends the database to drone partners on a monthly basis, and any new drones produced after drone manufacturers are sent the latest database will include the latest properties.
‘It could take some time before all in-service drones are updated to include your property in the no-fly database’, continued Mr Marcus.
‘In the future, when drones are connected by internet, we plan to update your privacy settings by pushing the information to the drones over internet in near-real time.’
Marcus said there might also be a market for a NoFlyZone business database.
“I see many partnership opportunities in the future with drone companies that see value in the data we are providing,” he said.
Source: The Hill