On Monday August 14, 2017, DJI announced plans to create an offline mode for their drones. The new mode allows users to fly without sharing photos, videos, and flight logs to DJI servers. Right now, DJI drones regularly upload flight telemetry data to servers located in the United States and in China. This new mode will officially be labelled as “local data mode,” and it has been claimed to have been worked on for a few months now, but some have speculated that this move is tied to the U.S. Army’s recent decision to stop using DJI drones due to alleged security concerns. Whether the new mode is tied to the U.S. Army’s decision or not, the offline mode will be live within a few weeks via update.
According to Engagdet, the new offline mode “will provide an enhanced level of data assurance for sensitive flights… such as those involving critical infrastructure, commercial trade secrets, governmental functions or other similar operations.” This mode will allow concerned consumer and professional pilots to operate with the utmost privacy.
DJI has a multitude of drones designed for various tasks, but none of them are made for military purposes. Some modded DJI drones have been misused in wars. DJI has done their part by restricting drone usage in certain areas. They did this by force updating modded drones to stop working in specific war torn locations, but now they have created a mode which can be flown offline; this means that users will have the ability to disconnect themselves from DJI servers. Though DJI hasn’t specifically commented on how the new mode will deal with restricting terrorist modded drones, it’ll be interesting to see how the new stealth mode affects drones being misused in wars.
What Does the Offline Mode Affect?
YouTube and Facebook live won’t work anymore if a user decides to fly their drone in the local data mode.
Offline Mode Alternative
Flying in airplane mode can give a user a similar flight experience as DJI’s new local data mode, but it’ll also block off all mobile internet and cellular access.
This new offline mode will ensure concerned users that their flight data is private, which is perfect for professionals who use drones to record sensitive data. This move by DJI shows that the drone leading giant is listening to customer feedback. If anyone is interested in this new mode, be on the lookout for the next firmware update.