Anonymous Drones to Become History After 2023

  • The US Federal Aviation Administration issued new rules on drone usage.
  • No commercial drones will be able to fly anonymously after 2023.
  • Drones are the fastest-growing segment in the US transportation sector.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced final regulations on drones flying in the United States airspace. The newly issued Remote ID Rule says commercial drones will be treated illegal if they can not transmit their identification data.

Drones are the fastest-growing segment in the transportation sector of the US. There are over 1.7 million drones registered in the States, more than a third of them are used for commercial purposes at a press time.

The drone industry is heavily shifting from conventional (like video or photography) usage towards the industrial one, as companies massively invest in drone technologies. Agriculture, logistics, construction sectors, as well as law enforcement, are several major factors driving the growth of the commercial drone market size.

Rule of remote identification

The new Remote ID Rule states that all registered commercial drones must have the ability to provide their identification and location data to aviation authorities, law enforcement or other federal agencies.

It is expected to help the authorities to identify unmanned aircraft and its pilot just like a vehicle’s license plate allows to identify its owner. According to the FAA, identification ability should bring higher safety and security standards to the airspace:

Remote ID helps find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly. Remote ID also lays the foundation of the safety and security groundwork needed for more complex drone operations.

Reportedly, the authorities will require identification data that include the type of drone, its location and altitude, the coordinates of its control station and the place of the drone’s take-off.

Personal data like the drone owner’s name will only be accessible to authorities directly responsible for airspace safety.

Who must comply with the rule?

The Remote ID rule will be mandatory for all commercial drones or the ones heavier than 0.55 pounds (250 g) from 2023. This means that all drones obliged to provide identification will have to use the ID broadcasting equipment.

The regulation will not affect drones flying solely for recreational purposes or lighter than the mentioned weight standard.

On the flip side

  • The rule eliminates internet connection and requires ID broadcasting via radio frequency.
  • Wing, the drone delivery unit of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, criticized the broadcast-based identification, claiming for safer internet-based tracking.

The rule on Remote ID comes into effect 60 days after the publication in the Federal Register, which is planned this month. The manufacturers will then have 18 months to produce drones with the integrated remote ID feature. Accordingly, pilots will have 30 months to adapt their drones to fit the new rule.

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