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Drones will fly at Westfield mall as DJI opens second San Francisco store

Drones will be flying under the dome of Westfield’s downtown mall starting Saturday when popular drone maker DJI opens its second retail outlet in San Francisco.

The company is hosting a grand opening of the store, which is on Level 2 under the atrium of the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

The store includes a cage that employees will use to demonstrate DJI’s latest consumer drones, including a small model built primarily as a flying camera. And visitors will be able to try DJI Goggles, a device that gives the wearer a flying drone’s point of view, via video.

The first DJI store opened in February at Montgomery and Jackson streets in the Financial District. Both stores are operated by Magic Sky USA, a drone sales company, on behalf of DJI, which is based in Shenzhen, China.

The Westfield outlet is more like a kiosk in the middle of the mall, not inside an enclosed space. But DJI spokesman Michael Oldenburg said the store is permanent, not just a temporary pop up timed to cash in on the busy holiday shopping season.

Drones have been in the news lately, for a mix of reasons. Consumer drones interfered with firefighters battling both the North Bay wildfires and the Bear Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But President Trump this week signed an order that would allow extended testing of commercial drones, including craft that would deliver packages.

DJI this week introduced a test that first-time pilots will have to pass before flying a DJI drone. Drones operators will have to correctly answer a list of safe flying questions that will appear on a smartphone and tablet app connected to DJI’s remote control units.

The company is also introducing technology that transmits a DJI drone’s location, altitude, speed, direction, takeoff location, operator location and a unique registration number to allow authorities to track down craft flying in unauthorized areas.

The store’s grand opening is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ChronicleBenny


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