DJI is offering up to $145,000 to anyone who catches those responsible for flying illegal drones at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.
Drones are increasingly becoming popular: the most recent FAA data indicate that possible drone sightings by US air traffic facilities jumped to 1,274 between February and September of last year, compared to 874 during the same period in 2015. Admittedly, due to strict regulations, drone activities in the US have relatively been under control (hence, Amazon’s trouble in making drone delivery a reality).
However, China is a different story, it seems. Consumers in China have been enjoying drone delivery for quite some time now, but not everything has been smooth sailing. At Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, things have been so bad that the Shezhen-based drone company DJI has decided to step in. It’s reported that just within a week, this airport saw up to 60 unmanned aerial vehicles per day disrupting scheduled flights. Unauthorized drone activity near airports could not only delay flights and cause inconvenience, but can also be extremely dangerous (see: Air Canada’s recent accident).
Although it’s not confirmed that these drones are DJI-produced, the company said that because flying a UAV close to an airport could threaten public safety, it is now offering up to 1 million yuan or around $145,000 to anyone who catches those responsible. It’s worth noting that DJI drones come with software that prevents users from operating them within so-called “restricted zones” like airports, so if these UAVs are indeed DJI drones, then it means their owners may have found a way to override the software.