Dji just recently launched their $499 DJI Spark Miniature camera drone, which is expected to become available by the middle of next month. The company has also released a brand new software update for all of their products' firmware, which will require all owners to register and activate their accounts. The update is now mandatory for all owners. Those who refuse to update to the new version will have their drones severely limited.

Forced registrations

The update itself will require all owners, including those who have already registered before, to re-register and login to their accounts. Those who have already registered may still use the same email and password.

DJI also sent out a message to all customers just recently to inform them about the new update.

The message, titled "DJI Updates Process For Activating Software And Firmware Updates," also contains a warning to those who do not comply. Drones that are not registered will apparently lack the proper Geospatial Information and flight functions for their specific region. Due to this fact, DJI will disable some functionalities, like the drone's live camera streaming capabilities, and limit its flight range. Unregistered drones will be limited to a 50 meter flight radius and may only fly up to 30 meters.

For the company's safety

The registration itself is not connected with the registry run by local aviation authorities. Some countries, like China, do require drone owners to register their devices with a government agency.

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However, that is currently not the case here is the United States. A proposal to enact an FAA hobbyist drone registry in the District of Columbia was recently blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Updated software

DJI announced that the purpose of the activation and updates is for drones to have the most up-to-date geospatial information and flight restrictions mandated in their specific areas. This will at least inform first-time fliers to stay away from areas where they shouldn't be flying. Those who register will still have full control of their device and it will not affect the drone's geofencing boundaries or flight altitude limits.

Additionally, DJI released the latest version of the DJI Go app, called the DJI Go 4, which actually contains a slew of new features created for the Spark Drone. The app can also be used by other drone owners to fly their device without the use of the device's included controllers.