In late December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a proposed rule for the remote identification of drones, a step considered by the agency to be critical in achieving the full integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into the national air space.
The proposed rule would require almost all UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds to be able to broadcast their identity and location directly from the aircraft and/or transmit that information via internet link from takeoff to landing to an FAA-approved third party service provider, allowing law enforcement agencies and the public access to real-time information about where drones are flying. Manufacturers would have up to two years to make sure their products meet the performance requirements, and operators would have up to three years from the rule’s effective date to comply. It’s estimated that most unmanned aircraft currently available to consumers could be made compliant via software updates.
According to the FAA, remote identification is a step towards enabling the safe authorization of flights over people and moving vehicles as well as flights beyond visual line of sight, both of which are necessary for full-scale implementation of drone deliveries, emergency response support, and infrastructure inspection.
The public comment period for the proposed rule is open through March 2, 2020.