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Why Did DJI Create a 249-Gram Drone?

The all-new Mavic Mini is a transformative product for DJI and the entire drone industry. It is the most advanced drone of its size ever made, featuring many of DJI’s high-performance capabilities in a drone that weighs only 249 grams. Why did we work so hard to stuff as many features as we could into such a small package? It’s another example of DJI’s commitment to drone safety.

A drone under 250 grams? DJI’s VP of Policy & Legal Affairs explains why it matters and the science behind its latest flying camera.

Regulators in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Australia, and other regions have agreed that drones weighing less than 250 grams (0.55 pounds) are virtually harmless. In a fall or a collision, a sub-250g drone is just not going to cause the same kind of damage as a heavier drone. Since they consider sub-250g drones to pose the lowest risks, they have made them subject to fewer restrictions or requirements than their heavier counterparts. The rules differ in each country, but in many places, a sub-250g drone may not require registration, and may also be eligible for more complex operations, such as flying over people.

A drone under 250 grams? DJI’s VP of Policy & Legal Affairs explains why it matters and the science behind its latest flying camera.This sub-250g weight category was created in 2015, when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asked a committee of aviation and drone experts to quickly determine the minimum weight of a drone that recreational drone pilots should be required to register. With personal safety the main goal, the committee employed complex formulas involving kinetic energy and terminal velocity to recommend a weight category of 250 grams and above, which the FAA then adopted.

While the 250g limit was intended only as a threshold for registration, it was quickly adopted by other countries as the threshold for many drone regulatory expectations. Any weight below that was considered so light that it was unlikely to cause safety problems, and thus there was little reason to impose stronger regulations. DJI later took a more comprehensive look at the science behind the calculations and concluded that the 250g limit was very conservative. In a white paper released in 2017, DJI said drones up to 2.2 kilograms should be considered lowest-risk. However, the 250g limit has become the global regulatory standard for drones that pose a negligible safety risk.

With that in mind, DJI is now proud to be able to manufacture a drone that provides advanced functionality within that ultra-lightweight category, making the skies safer for everyone. Every time you fly with a Mavic Mini instead of a heavier drone, you’re flying safer than before – simply by using a lighter product. 

A drone under 250 grams? DJI’s VP of Policy & Legal Affairs explains why it matters and the science behind its latest flying camera.

 

Even as we prioritize safety, we also recognize that compliance with rules, respectful social interactions, resolution of security threats, and pilot accountability all remain important for a drone of any size, particularly one that is as capable as Mavic Mini. This is why Mavic Mini includes our GEO 2.0 geofencing system, to help prevent inadvertent flight in locations that would raise serious safety or security concerns. In the United States, if you are already registered with the FAA as a recreational drone operator, your registration is valid for all the drones you own. We encourage you to mark your Mavic Mini using that same registration number, although it is not required for recreational operations.

Mavic Mini is also equipped with our AeroScope system for Remote Identification, which allows safety and security officials to detect, identify, and locate the drone and its pilot during flight. AeroScope is a system that is protecting airports, stadiums, high-security events, and other sensitive locations all over the world, and it demonstrates the power of Remote ID to resolve some of the biggest concerns about drones.

A drone under 250 grams? DJI’s VP of Policy & Legal Affairs explains why it matters and the science behind its latest flying camera.

DJI supports regulatory efforts around the world to create mandatory Remote ID systems. As a supporter of, and collaborator in, the forthcoming rules and standards for remote identification, DJI also expects Mavic Mini to be compatible with official Remote ID requirements once they are implemented.  In our work on the FAA’s Remote Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee in 2017, we vocally supported the conclusions of the Working Group of security, law enforcement and air traffic control stakeholders about which drones should be included in Remote ID. That group recommended to the FAA that remote identification be required for drones that provide the types of advanced capabilities that raise substantial security concerns, such as long-distance flight capabilities and live video downlinks. Although the FAA’s forthcoming remote ID requirements have not yet been revealed, we continue to agree with this recommendation from 2017 that a capability-based threshold for Remote ID makes more sense than a threshold based only on a drone’s weight.

When regulators said drones weighing under 250 grams are the safest, we took that as a challenge. DJI has always made safety our top priority, and we’re proud that Mavic Mini opens a new frontier for how a small yet powerful drone can do great things in the lowest-risk category. As you enjoy flying your Mavic Mini, always consult and comply with your applicable local rules, and remember that no matter how small your drone, when you fly it, you are an ambassador for drones of all sizes. You can learn more about DJI’s safety commitment at dji.com/flysafe. Fly safely, and have fun.

 

 


Brendan Schulman, DJI’s VP of Policy & Legal Affairs explains why it matters and the science behind its latest flying camera.


 

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