Do Autel Drones Have Geofencing (And How to Unlock)

Again in 2014 Autel Robotics was based. Headquartered within the drone capital of the world, Shenzhen, China, Autel Robotics has an intensive and developed presence in Seattle, Washington, and Silicon Valley in California.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

In 2015, the Autel X-Star was launched.

Likened to the DJI Phantom line of drones due to its preliminary design, the X-Star (lovingly referred to, by many within the drone neighborhood, because the flying pumpkin) stood out among the many crowd, actually.

In 2016, the X-Star Premium, with its detachable digicam gimbal, was launched, being awarded because the highest-rated drone on Amazon, on the time.

Over the following 6 years, Autel Robotics would launch a slew of improbable client and prosumer drones, such because the Evo, Evo II 8k, Professional, Enterprise, RTK, and Thermal, Lite/Lite+, and Nano/Nano+ traces.

As of the discharge of this text, Autel Evo II drones, with the most recent firmware and Autel Explorer app, have Geofencing and No Fly Zones in-built.

Nonetheless, at the moment, within the US, these options are usually not necessary or lively. No unlocks are wanted.

For Autel Nano and Lite customers, there may be no geofencing, so there isn’t a unlocking wanted, and moreover, you’ll be able to fly the place and once you’d like, as quickly as you take away the drone from its field.

Notice: It has been rumored that the geofencing on the Autel Evo II drones may be activated within the US sooner or later, nevertheless, there isn’t a official phrase on whether or not this may happen, as but.

The Definition of Geofencing

What’s geofencing?

Geofencing is the technique of limiting a drone from coming into varied airspace or geographical zones, by way of the producer’s flight software program and firmware.

It’s best to consider geofencing as an invisible fence that limits your capacity to fly from, inside, or by way of sure zones, with out prior authorization and customizable unlocks, discovered on some in style drone traces.

The place are you able to count on to see these geo-zones?

They’re usually round areas comparable to Airports, Helicopter launch and touchdown pads, concert events and different stadium occasions and video games, and corrections amenities (i.e. jails), simply to call a number of areas.

Though geofencing has been a severely sore topic amongst many drone house owners, geofencing has been applied by varied drone producers as a security precaution for plane in manned airspace.

The concept of implementing geofencing was initiated as a result of there are certainly some locally which can be going to fly their drones as far and excessive as they’ll whereas disregarding the security legal guidelines put in place by the FAA.

Whereas there are people who disregard these legal guidelines, there are much more drone operators that do observe the legal guidelines put in place however would really like the choice to decide on for themselves the place and after they can fly.

Figuring out Flight Space Issues

If you’re utilizing an older model of the Autel Explorer app (as I’m beneath) or utilizing the Autel Sky app for the Nano and Lite collection, there aren’t any on-screen map warnings of close by locations of warning.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne – Autel Explorer App

If I used to be utilizing the DJI Fly app, there could be a No Fly zone overlay simply east of my present location.

If you’re flying an Evo II collection, in or close to a no-fly zone with essentially the most up-to-date model of the firmware and Explorer app, you may be given an onscreen warning message that mainly informs you that you’re in a no-fly zone and that there could also be penalties of flying there.

To search out out what varieties of zones are in your space, one of many simpler strategies is by downloading a third get together app for both Android or iOS.

On this case, I’d recommend B4UFLY, a free app supplied by the FAA and in partnership with ALOFT, that offers you recent Geo and Warning zones in your space.


As was talked about, B4UFLY is an app that the FAA partnered with ALOFT (previously Kittyhawk) to assist drone operators to know whether it is secure or to not fly their drones, supplied their drone software program doesn’t have this info in-built.

As worded by the FAA: “B4UFLY is the straightforward approach for drone operators to test airspace and native advisories earlier than withdrawing.”

Wanted Zone Data at a Look

The consumer interface on the B4UFLY app is easy and intuitive. Additionally, there may be not a lot it is advisable do or thumb by way of to be able to get very important zone info. Proper on the principle display screen of the app, you’ll be capable of see in the event you a transparent to take off and, if not, any close by considerations.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

In case you’d wish to see a bit of extra info about close by “considerations” merely slide up on the display screen and you may be offered with close by warnings. In my case that will be a Hospital Helipad and a close-by Sea Aircraft launch web site.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

On this explicit occasion, the place I used to be flying, there have been no warning zones close by. As soon as the map is zoomed out (as seen beneath), nevertheless, then a clearer image will be drawn primarily based on the encircling space.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

As will be seen above, there are numerous coloured areas on the map. These are layers that spell out how the zone is designated. These zones are as follows (with supporting screenshots):

  • Notify and Fly
  • Momentary Flight Restrictions
  • Particular Use Airspace
  • Nationwide Safety UAS Flight Restrictions
  • Particular Air Visitors Guidelines
  • Stadiums
  • Managed Airspace
  • Airports
  • Nationwide Parks
  • Native Advisories
  • Geo Portal Advisories
Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne
Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne
Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

It’s simple to get the entire info one would want to determine if flights will be carried out in any space of concern.

Desktop Model

What can also be good, for these of us that do mission preplanning, is the capacity to test forward of time to see if the world you’ll be flying has any warning or no-fly zones. This may be executed on a PC or Mac by going to the FAA’s B4UFLY site.

When on the positioning, you possibly can merely put in an space code, handle, or zip code. In case you don’t know the actual handle, you possibly can transfer the situation pin anyplace on the map once you find your space of curiosity.

Beneath is a screenshot of the particular B4UFLY desktop web site.

Iage Credit score: Dan Bayne

Identical to with the app, you possibly can change the layers (in order to see satellite tv for pc view) and the entire no-fly and warning zones might be seen if inside your flying location.

Utilizing the FAA’s official B4UFLY app and desktop, you possibly can relaxation assured figuring out that you’re flying legally in your space of selection.

The Matter of Flying “Legally”

Though Autel drones don’t at the moment implement geofenced zones, thus permitting one to fly wherever they’d like, every time they’d like, we do have the accountability of flying in a way that retains people in manned plane secure.

Though there are numerous areas which can be restricted by the FAA, Autel house owners can nonetheless apply to legally fly by way of this restricted airspace. This may be executed by way of the usage of LAANC.

Flying Geozones utilizing LAANC

LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization Notification Functionality) is software program that’s used to automate the method of approving and denying drone operator requests to fly in Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E managed airspace within the US.

At present, LAANC is offered for 700+ airports, throughout the US.

If a person is flying beneath Half 107 or Leisure guidelines, and is searching for to request LAANC approval to fly in managed airspace, a third get together app will must be put in in your smartphone or different digital gadgets to make the request.

Managed Airspace

Within the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is tasked with implementing legal guidelines that make civilian aviation safer.

On this appointed place, they’re the authority in relation to the place and the way drone operators can fly, in sure airspace.

Beneath are the actual definitions of the lessons of managed airspace, as outlined by the FAA:

  • Class B airspace is usually airspace from the bottom floor to 10,000 ft MSL (Imply Sea Stage) surrounding the nation’s busiest airports when it comes to airport operations or passenger enplanements.
  • Class C airspace is usually airspace from the bottom floor to 4,000 ft above the airport elevation (charted in MSL) surrounding these airports which have an operational management tower, are serviced by a radar strategy management, and have a sure variety of IFR (instrument flight guidelines) operations or passenger enplanements.
  • Class D airspace is usually airspace from the floor to 2,500 ft above the airport elevation (charted in MSL) surrounding these airports which have an operational management tower.
  • Class E airspace is the managed airspace not categorised as Class A, B, C, or D airspace. A considerable amount of the airspace over america is designated as Class E airspace.
Picture Credit score: FAA

Visually seeing the totally different lessons of airspace might help us to grasp why getting correct approvals and authorizations previous to flying in sure zones is so vital.

How-To Request LAANC Authorization

For a drone operator to get approval to fly in sure airspace, a request by way of LAANC must be made.

Relying on the supplier you might be utilizing, this may be executed whereas both out within the subject out of your telephone (the most typical approach) or requested prematurely from a pc.

To get LAANC authorizations, I largely use AIRMAP, as I make various LAANC requests from my pc when establishing shoots for our corporations purchasers earlier than hand.


The Airmap app is offered for each iOS and Android:

Step 1. After downloading the software program, you will want to Join an account.

Notice: Be sure that to incorporate your whole info, as LAANC will use your cellphone quantity to ship approvals.

Step 2. After your account has been arrange, log in and you’ll then be within the map view. I’ve my display screen centered on Hen Key on the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, which is in vary of an airport with LAANC approval (SRQ).

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

You’ll discover in your map that the place there may be managed airspace, there might be grids with numbers on them. These numbers (in my case 200) signify the utmost drone peak (in ft) allowed.

Step 3. To fly in a specific space, you will want to Create a Flight Plan. To do that, press the flight plan button which seems to be like a blue and white paper airplane.

It will zoom you into the portion of the map you’re looking at, with an adjustable radius. You possibly can transfer your flight heart level to wherever you’d like and resize it with the radius slider on the backside.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

Step 4. Faucet the Subsequent button on the highest proper to go to change/add your flight plan particulars.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne
Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

Step 5. After you might have entered the entire standards and choices, press the Subsequent button on the backside of the display screen.

It will then carry you to the Flight Briefing display screen. Merely hit Submit Flight and it’s best to have your authorization inside seconds.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

As soon as this course of was full, I then went and took the next image.

Picture Credit score: Dan Bayne

Ultimate Thought

Whereas Autel drones would not have lively geofencing, in the event you’d wish to fly safely in managed airspace, there are numerous app choices accessible to see the place these areas are and obtain the right authorizations to fly therein.


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