FAA proposes tracking most drones in US airspace2019-12-27 17:58 by Daniela
Tags: FAA, drone
The Federal Aviation Administration put forward a rule Thursday that would empower the government to track most drones in the U.S. The remote identification rule has been referred to as a system to create "virtual drone license plates." The FAA is asking all drones to comply with the new rule within three years. The agency is also asking for public comments.
The lack of a comprehensive system for drone identification and tracking has been a long-standing barrier to the adoption of commercial drone technology. Companies like Amazon and UPS, for example, have long dreamed of making package deliveries using unmanned vehicles. But such efforts were blocked by law enforcement agencies worried about unidentified drones being used for terrorism, drug smuggling, or other crimes.
The rule would apply to all drones required to register with the agency, which means recreational drones of about a half a pound or less would be exempt. The agency noted that it's working toward a "traffic management ecosystem" for drone flights that's "separate from, but complementary to, the air traffic management system."
The FAA established a registration system for recreational drones back in 2015, and since then, nearly 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots have been registered. Earlier this year, the agency set up an automated system to authorize recreational flights in controlled airspace.
Plenty of details still have to be filled in: The FAA is leaving it up to the drone industry to come up with standards and frequencies, and it plans to work with contractors to develop online monitoring systems. Once the regulations are approved, probably sometime next year, all drones would have to be registered. And issues surrounding enforcement of the rules are, as usual, still up in the air.
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