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Although drones have existed for quite some time now, it’s only in the past few years that people started massively taking an interest in this exciting piece of technology.
However, even though the general public can purchase them pretty much anywhere nowadays, many people are still confused about how they should be used and whether they are breaking any laws by flying them.
When geofencing was introduced, the problems with losing and crashing drones have somewhat been resolved. Geofencing is essentially the use of GPS coordinates to make sure you have an eye on your drone at all times.
But, not all drones have this feature. Those that don’t tend to be much more affordable and are mostly used by people who are solely interested in getting some unique photography shots.
In this article, we are going to cover what the best drones without geofencing are and help you make a decision on which one to buy.
5 Best Drones without Geofencing
As we said, drones without geofencing tend to be a bit less pricey, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for creating some beautiful shots and videos.
Let’s review the list of our top five drones without geofencing recommendations.
Autel Evo II
Autel Evo II is widely regarded as one of the best drones when it comes to quality.
This machine features three camera sizes, four types of resolution, and an altitude hold feature that guarantees some spectacular shots. The battery life is also impressive since it can last approximately 35 minutes.
Users don’t need to carry any heavy equipment around since the Autel can be connected to a mobile phone or tablet.
While this drone doesn’t include geofencing, there is a ‘Follow Me’ mode that is the next best thing. There is also a ‘Return to Home’ feature, which makes it easy to navigate the drone where you want and minimize its risk of crashing.
You can also use the drone both outdoors and indoors since it has a specific stability mode, enabling it to stay sturdy even in the windiest conditions.
- Battery life: 35 minutes
- Features: Altitude Hold, Headless Flight Mode, Intelligent Orientation Control, Position Hold, Low Voltage Alarm
- Flight Range: up to 9 km (5.6 miles)
- High-quality performance
- Impressive features
- Doesn’t include waypoints
Yuneec Typhoon Q500
The Yuneec Typhoon is one of the best drones without geofencing in terms of video and camera capabilities. The video resolution is around 1080p at 120 fps, and the camera resolution is 4K at 30 fps, plus a slow-motion video feature.
You can easily adjust the drone to any given situation by operating the white balance, light exposure, and advanced video resolution options.
The main downside of this model is that there isn’t a distortion lens included, and the aluminum case can’t really protect the digital camera or lens. This is because the creators didn’t originally make the drone for some more professional photography purposes.
Nonetheless, the Yuneec does offer some great features and can be an ideal choice for amateur photographers looking to snap some beautiful shots.
- Flight time: up to 30 minutes
- Speed: up to 30 kmh (18 mph)
- Flight range: appx. 0.8 km (0.5 miles)
- Very agile
- Simple to control
- Great flight time
- Not portable
GDU O2 drone
When it comes to high-quality cameras, there aren’t many drones without geofencing that can compare to the GDU O2.
This model features a 4K camera and three axes stabilized gimbal that guarantees exquisite shot-making. It is also a very portable model due to its lightweight, making it an ideal choice for travelers who enjoy taking shots in foreign countries or during expeditions.
The GDU O2 is also very simple to use, and you can set it up in a matter of minutes by using the smart controller display. To bring it back to your location all you have to do is click the button on the trackpad.
Beginners that don’t have a lot of experience with drones could benefit from the various features such as headless mode, which allows you to fly it without previously adjusting the position.
The maximum speed is around 50 kmh (30 mph), and you can fly it up to a range of 6 km (4 miles).
- Battery life: up to 30 minutes
- Features: GPS mode and Home Lock mode
- Video Transmission Range: 1 km
- Transmission Distance for Remote Control Signal: 6 km (4 miles)
- Suitable for beginners
- High-quality camera
- Long controlling range
- No gimbal mount
If you are the type of person that needs to spend a bit more time taking shots until you reach the perfect photograph, then the Autel DragonFish might be the perfect drone for you. This model has an extremely long flight time, up to 2 hours.
That’s not all, the 4k camera and quality optical zoom make it perfect for catching breathtaking photos.
When designing this model, Autel wanted to put its main focus on safety and security. Well, they didn’t waste time, the DragonFish drone is one of the most reliable pieces of tech currently on the market.
The model comes with double batteries, IMU, compasses, RTK modules, and barometers. If it is struggling to fly in ‘current’ mode, it switches to another one to continue its flight.
Artificial Intelligence is another impressive feature that allows the drone to self-check its system and fixes any issues that could cause problems during the flight.
Even though there are plenty of powerful features, you don’t have to be a professional to be able to control the drone. The advanced software allows even total beginners to handle the model due to the intelligent tracking, history monitoring, and mission planning.
- Battery life: up to 120 minutes
- Video Resolution: 4K 20x optical zoom
- Camera resolution: 48 MPX
- One of the best battery lives on the market
- Great video and camera resolution
- AI feature
- A bit pricey
Sophisticated design, high-quality camera, and lengthy battery life are just some of the features that make Autel Kestrel one of the best drones without geofencing.
With the robust four propellers, this drone can quickly and easily reach desired heights, giving you the perfect birds-eye view of your surroundings.
The Autel Kestrel is also easy to control since you aren’t limited to using a tech controller, you can also connect it to your iOS or Android device and operate it wirelessly.
Some of the notable features include the multiple high-resolution cameras that guarantee HD quality streaming, remote control operated through a touch screen and a great two-hour flight time.
By adjusting a path on your mobile device, you can rest assured that the Kestrel will avoid obstacles along the way, and you won’t have to worry about crashes and accidents.
- Flight time: up to 120 minutes
- Flight Range: it could originally go up to 100 km (60 miles), but the government put a limit on the flight range
- Speed: up to 65 kmh (40 mph)
- Impressive flight time
- High speed
- Large and heavy
Q: Is Geofencing ethical?
A: Yes, using geofencing is totally ethical, and it even has benefits such as protecting people from drones around airports and avoiding crashes.
Q: Is there any difference between No-Fly Zones and Geofences?
A: There are differences, but the biggest one is that no-fly zones have fixed boundaries, while geofences can be changed and adjusted subsequently depending on the user’s GPS coordinates. The two also have different goals – no-fly zones prevent drones from entering specific areas, while geofences prevent them from leaving a certain location.
Q: Are No-Fly Zones and Geofencing similar?
A: Since both have the purpose of restricting a drone’s movement, they are pretty similar. But, as we said, there are some big differences that tell them apart.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is one of the newest drone features, and it provides drones with GPS coordinates that should keep them within certain locations and boundaries.
It is essentially a location-based service that uses an app or any other program with radio frequencies, Wi-Fi, or GPS to alert the user that their drone is near a restricted airspace area. The virtual boundaries that are used in geofencing are also known as geofences.
This new technology was introduced in the early 2010s, and the main advocates and developers of geofencing are one of the leading drone manufacturers – DJI.
Users who have geofencing on their drones need to receive authorization to enter certain areas. This is done by providing info about your drone’s serial number and personal information, as well as showcasing who the pilot is. Once you receive the authorization, you can fly your drone in the desired area.
This type of technology is beneficial for preventing airspace accidents since it keeps the drones away from going into restricted spaces like military bases and public airports. It also promotes pilot accountability, drone registration, and overall airspace safety.
Without geofencing features, drones can be shot down in case they get spotted in restricted areas, so it’s essentially one of the best ways to avoid unnecessary damages and disasters.
The 4 Different Geofencing Zones
Once you type in your location and where you wish to fly, a specific color will appear that will demonstrate the safety of that zone.
There are four different types that users should be able to differentiate.
Red Zone 🔴
The red color shows areas that are completely restricted for drones. Flying in these areas will result in your drone being shot down and probably being irreparably damaged.
Gray Zone 🦾
Gray zones are areas that have specific restrictions in terms of altitude. These are most commonly airport runways, and this type of restriction is least likely to be changed over time.
Blue Zone 🔵
The blue zone indicates places where flying a drone is considered risky, but the decision of whether you can fly it there rests on the pilot. Once you complete a ‘Self Unlock’, you will know whether or not you can fly there.
Yellow Zone 🟡
Flying in a yellow zone could be dangerous, but you won’t need to complete a ‘Self Unlock’. Once your drone starts flying in a yellow zone area, the pilots will receive a warning and make a decision on what to do with the drone.
How to Unlock Drone Geofencing?
There are two ways to unlock geofencing on your drone; these include ‘Self Unlock’ and ‘Custom Unlock’.
For the Custom Unlock, you will need to provide specific proof of authorization if you plan on flying in a restricted area. For Self Unlock, you won’t need any sort of proof.
Both methods of unlocking work the same – you will have to visit the official website of the drone’s manufacturer and fill in the details on the ‘Unlock’ page. After doing so, you will be able to use geofencing on your drone.
What are The Benefits of Drones without Geofencing?
One of the main benefits of drones without geofencing is that you can practically fly them anywhere without having to worry about your GPS coordinates matching the restrictions. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can fly in restricted areas, but you can fly in other countries in non-restricted zones.
This is especially important for traveling photographers that make a living off their pictures in abroad countries.
The Risks of Turning off Geofencing
While using drones without geofencing does have its benefits, it also carries certain risks along with it.
The first problems you can encounter by turning off geofencing are those of legal kind.
Simply put, flying a drone into certain areas can put the lives of individuals in danger, which is why governments came up with laws to prevent it from happening.
Piloting rules state that drones should stay away from people and their property within a 30 m range. This is because drones include cameras, and it is illegal to film the property of others. For example, in Australia, you cannot record someone without consent if they are in some sort of private place. So, if you happen to capture photos of someone’s backyard, you can be charged with a criminal offense.
👉 Also, you can’t fly your drone in zones where it could be regarded as trespassing. This involves flying over private-held houses and lands.
While there are plenty of laws defining the limits of drone technology, the process is still on-going. Most countries include this private property flying law, but some go to more extreme measures. It is best that you check out the legal situation in your specific country regarding drones and flying to be sure you aren’t breaking any laws.
Collisions with aircraft
There are specific geofencing zones that have the purpose of protecting other aircrafts currently in the sky.
This is especially the case when it comes to helipads and airports. Depending on which country you live in, the regulations will vary, but the principle will always stay the same. If there is an airport and a runway that is controlled by a tower, the exclusion zone will exist.
Of course, even if there weren’t any legal obligations to keep your drones away from airports, you still wouldn’t want to risk putting other people’s lives in danger just for taking a few photos.
Your drone being shot down or jammed
By flying your drone in a restricted or secured area, you risk having it shot down or signal jammed.
Authorized faces can use disturbance signals to jam your drone by disrupting its communication with the remote control. This results in your drone losing all means of communication and crashing down as a result.
However, in recent years, developers have created a new feature that automatically returns the drone home in case the signal gets jammed.
Using drone signal jammers isn’t really common practice nowadays, but if it becomes a necessary step to take in order to save lives, it will be used.
Geofencing is one of the latest drone technologies that serve the purpose of making virtual boundaries of where the drones are allowed to go. Through GPS coordinates, users receive alerts when they enter or exit a restricted area.
Drones that don’t have geofencing have a higher risk of being shot down or signal jammed since it’s not impossible for the drone to fly off in a forbidden area and cause legal problems for the users.
⚡️ We hope this article provided you with all the necessary information regarding what geofencing is, how it works, what are the benefits, and helped you choose the best drone without geofencing.
Keep in mind, if you do decide to purchase a drone without geofencing, be sure to stay informed on what could be restricted areas so you don’t endanger others’ lives and risk your drone being shot down.
The SkyDio 2 drone model doesn’t feature geofencing. However, it does have an internal GPS device that works in a similar manner.
Even without the geofencing option, the SkyDio 2 is considered a safe drone for flying.
The Mavic Mini drone does have geofencing. This drone was designed by DJI, a company that includes geofencing in almost all of its models.
When Mavic Mini was released, users didn’t have to register it unless they were flying it for commercial purposes. The main flow, which got resolved over time, was that geo zones were extremely complicated to unlock.
Before you even decide to fly your drone in a certain area, you should get informed on whether the specific zone is restricted for drones.
However, this isn’t always possible.
Currently, facing legal issues is still not that common for flying a drone in restricted airspace, but if you fly it in high-security areas, you will get fined. For example, the FAA in the US fines pilots up to $32,666 if they fly into restricted areas.
It’s best to check the legal situation in your country before flying your drone in potentially risky areas.
Also, there are some drones, such as DJI, that include features that automatically prevent them from flying into restricted areas.
To unlock geofencing on DJI drones, you should first open up the DJI Pilot App.
Next, open the menu icon that can be found in the top right corner of the app.
Lastly, press the NFZ Unlocking Application/Geo Zone Unlocking feature.
While most of the biggest and most popular drone manufacturers (e.g., DJI) do include the geofencing feature on their drones, not all companies use them.
The main reason why manufacturers include geofencing is to prevent their drones from flying into restricted areas.
While having geofencing on your drone is a much safer alternative, it does bring certain limits to users. For example, you won’t be able to travel to many different countries and take pictures with your drone, which can be a problem if you are a professional photographer that shoots different places for a living.
There is no official guide released by DJI on how to bypass the geofencing feature, but some users report that it can be removed by returning the firmware to an older version.
Yes, Parrot is a manufacturer that almost always includes geofencing in their drones.
Autel is one of the most popular manufacturers when it comes to drones without geofencing. That is the reason why so many of their models found their way onto our list. In fact, the Autel EVO II is perhaps the best choice when it comes to drones without geofencing.
However, the company has recently started equipping the Autel EVO II drone with the geofencing feature in countries such as Japan, Australia, China, and the US.
Most SkyDio drones do not have geofencing but they are equipped with built-in GPS.