Drone company DJI has challenged the Federal Aviation Administration’s maximum weight limit for so-called “low risk drones,” saying it is too low. As it stands, the FAA says that low-risk drones must have a maximum weight of 250 grams. That’s at odds with a new white paper published by DJI claiming that, per its own research, low-risk drones can have a max weight limit as high as 2.2kg (4.9lbs).
According to DJI, the 250-gram maximum weight limit was selected quickly in order to set a requirement for the 2015 Registration Task Force (RTF). The company’s VP of Policy and Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman said:
The RTF has only three days to decide how much a drone should weigh to require registration, and RTF members — including myself — unanimously set a 250-gram limit for registration purposes only, not for safety rulemaking.
He goes on to say that despite the upper weight limit having been for registration purposes, many regulators are using this limit to decide the maximum weight for UAVs that can be classified as ‘low-risk’ drones — something that is based on ‘deeply flawed assumptions and poorly chosen data,’ says DJI.
The white paper (which you can find here) seems to be aimed at regulators around the world more so than the FAA itself. The company aims to shed light on the matter, encouraging these regulators to choose a maximum weight limit based on proper safety analysis and risk assessment versus a knee-jerk adoption of the FAA’s registration figure.