As a commercial drone pilot, it’s becoming more common to hear stories of drones being stolen. Whether you use the drone for roof measurements and property inspections, solar installs, or something else, having someone else take your equipment can be more than an inconvenience and actually damage your business. In this blog post, we will go over some of the steps you should take to minimize the chances of your drone being taken and also how you can go about locating a missing craft if it does end up lost or stolen.
What to Do if Your Drone is Stolen
If your drone is stolen, recovering it may be unlikely. However, you do have options to try to get your drone back. Here are the three most common below.
Find My Drone Feature
DJI provides a useful tool called “Find My Drone” to help you in such unfortunate circumstances. Through this feature, you can track your drone’s location via GPS, provided that it is switched on and within range. This informative tool can provide you with valuable information needed to recover your drone. The concept is familiar to the Find Your iPhone feature that was introduced way back in 2009. There is a short instructional video on how this works that you can watch on YouTube here.
Register Your Drone as Stolendrone.info
This site is growing and still gaining traction, but they have had success in using this database to locate stolen drones. One such anecdote is a drone found during a Sand Diego County Sheriff’s warrant search was cross-referenced with this website and returned to the owner in March, 2023.
Cancel FAA Registration
You’ll want to cancel your FAA drone registration to ensure that any illicit activity the drone is used for is not connected to you moving forward. Instructions from the FAADroneZone website are found here.
How to Keep Your Drone from Being Stolen
Losing your drone is not only a financial loss, but it can also be a huge inconvenience and loss of time and productivity in your business. Although we shared the three steps you need to take if your drone is stolen, retention is always better than having to deal with the aftermath of a stolen drone.
Keep Your Drone in a Secure Location When Not in Use
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that is often overlooked. When you’re not using your drone, make sure to keep it in a secure location where it can’t be easily stolen. This means keeping it out of vehicles parked outside overnight, sheds, and even garages. The most basic goal here is to make a smash-and-grab impossible.
Use a Security Cable to Lock Your Drone Case to a Stationary Object
If you need to leave your drone unattended for any length of time, use a security cable to lock the case to a stationary object. This will make it much more difficult for someone to simply pick up and walk away with your drone. Locking up the drone itself is also an extra hurdle to keep it safe.
Use Gps Tracking To Keep Tabs on Your Drone’s Whereabouts
If you’re really worried about your drone being stolen, consider using GPS tracking. There are several different types of GPS trackers available on the market, and they can be very helpful in keeping tabs on your drone’s whereabouts. Something as simple as a hidden Apple Tag or Tile are small and affordable. The best place to hide one is inside the foam of the case where it would be difficult to find.