FAA Proposes Drone ID Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a rule that would require the “remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems.” The identification of drones in the air “would address safety, national security, and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the airspace of the United States while also enabling greater operational capabilities.” A remote ID allows a drone or other unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to supply identification that can be received by others while in flight. The identification rules will apply to both commercial and recreational operations.

The FAA said the remote ID rule will help identify UASs that seem to be flying in an unsafe manner or in a no-fly area. Additionally, the ID system could form the basis for a scalable UAS traffic management system. The proposed rule allows for the “collection and storage of certain data such as identity, location, and altitude regarding an unmanned aircraft and its control station.”

“As a pilot, my eye is always on safety first,” Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator, said. “Safety is a joint responsibility between government, pilots, the drone community, the general public and many others who make our nation so creative and innovative.”

The FAA defined a three-fold implementation process: the proposed rule, a network of remote ID UAS Service Suppliers to collect the ID and location information and collecting technical requirements for UAS to adhere to this rule. The FAA has already requested information to create an industry cohort for the technology aspect of the remote ID; it has received recommendations for available technologies to move forward with the project.

“Drones are the fastest growing segment of transportation in our nation and it is vitally important that they are safely integrated into the national airspace,” Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, said.

There are approximately 1.5 million drones and 160,000 registered remote pilots. The remote ID system would expand previous efforts to integrate operations between the FAA and UAS industry.

This rule would allow the FAA to monitor and address concerns around the operation of drones over areas like airports and stadiums.  The system will also aid the management of increasing air traffic generally, especially as more companies like Amazon and Google are increasingly using drones for commercial purposes.

The public can comment on the proposed rule until March 2. The proposed rule comes after the Department of the Interior has banned most of its own drone fleet, as they were manufactured abroad.