Google's OpenSky app will let drone flyers stick to the rules, or break them on purpose

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Since drones began their entry into the mainstream, many have been coy about the technology's privacy concerns. In order to help users legally fly their drones even in crowded cities, Google has created a new tool: OpenSky.

Amid heightened drone regulation, the new smartphone application will hopefully help users stick to the rules. If anything else, it'll help rule breakers find new ways to stick it to the man.

What is OpenSky?

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Available for iOS and Android, OpenSky comes from Google’s drone delivery division, Wing. While the service has been available in a limited capacity for Australia, Wing are now expanding the service. As such, the service is now launching in the United States.

In a report by DroneLife, Wing explained that the app will help to maintain the open skies. The application is an adapted version of the software that Wing uses for their personal drone deliveries. Drone owners will use the software for anything from city-wide filming to environmental surveys.

The application colour-codes areas depending on how safe they are for drone use. Green areas are fine for unlimited drone usage and yellow zones require users to exercise caution. Red zones are complete no-fly zones. In these zones, drone usage is not allowed.

Furthermore, OpenSky will allow users to submit requests to fly in controlled airspace. Wing claims that the app will allow “near real-time authorizations”. This is because the approval method supports Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, the same tech used for airspace control.

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Increased drone regulation

OpenSky's release comes after the news that drone usage will be submitted to increased regulation. For example, every drone that weighs over 0.55 pounds have to be registered in the US. Additionally, after 2023, location broadcasting will be mandatory for drones in-flight.

Read More: Further regulation is coming for self-driving cars, especially Tesla Autopilot