Technology

Cash offered after drones disrupt flights in China

DJI drone Image copyright AFP
Image caption The bounty comes following four days of disruption to flights at Chengdu airport

Chinese drone maker DJI is offering up to one million yuan (£112,000) for information about drones that disrupted scores of flights at a Chinese airport.

On four days this month - 14, 17, 18 and 21 - drones were blamed for stranding thousands of passengers at Chengdu Shuangliu International.

Chinese reports said they caused 60 flight interruptions on 21 April alone.

One expert said it showed how difficult it is to combat unsafe drone flights.

Initially, it was reported that a reward of 10,000 yuan (£1,124) had been offered by the local public security bureau for information about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flown near to the transport hub.

However, DJI is now proposing a much bigger bounty.

In a press release in Chinese, the firm said that flying drones so close to an airport was a serious threat to public safety - and also damaged the UAV industry's image.

Members of the public have until 31 December to make a report to local authorities.

'Extraordinary measures'

The bounty was a sign that the firm was taking the potential impact on its reputation seriously, suggested Prof David Dunn at the University of Birmingham.

"Clearly they're concerned about their brand image, given how much they dominate the drone market," he told the BBC.

Prof Dunn pointed out that using on-board software to restrict where drones can fly - known as geofencing, which DJI uses in its drones - was not always successful.

"There seems to be an inability to deal with the potential drone threat to air traffic - other than through extraordinary measures like this reward," he said.

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