DJI no longer manufactures AeroScope, the drone detection system that the russians may have used to track and target Ukrainian drone operators. A box now appears on the product page with the text: “The Aeroscope is no longer in production. For the latest in DJI technology, please view our product recommendations below,” reports The Verge.
The Chinese company has not officially announced the discontinuation of the product, and it is still unclear whether existing AeroScope devices will lose functionality or whether the platform will disappear forever.
DJI describes its AeroScope as a “comprehensive drone detection platform” that can identify and track drones in real time using the receiver signals broadcasted by newer DJI drones. This signal provides AeroScope users with information like flight status, path, and pilot location from drones up to about 30 miles away.
While the product was originally intended to be used by law enforcement and other government agencies to monitor drones flying in potentially dangerous areas (such as around an airport runway) and track their pilots, the technology has become a cause for concern since russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine.
Last year, the head of the Ministry of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, accused DJI of “helping russia to kill Ukrainians” because russian soldiers used AeroScope receivers to locate and attack Ukrainian operators. To make matters worse, the signals broadcast by DJI drones are not encrypted, allowing other types of receivers to receive them.
A few days before it became known that AeroScope was discontinued, Wired reported that researchers have created a tool that allows third-party devices to receive signals from DJI drones, allowing them to determine the GPS location of the drone and its pilot without using the system AeroScope. Engineers working on the project told Wired that they’ve only tested the tool with drones at a distance of 5 to 8 meters, but believe they can track them from even greater distances with additional testing.