ID Requirements For Drones Coming Soon


A critical step in the integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System is scheduled for Dec. 20 as the FAA releases its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on remote identification requirements for drones. The agency will require that all drones emit some kind of signal giving aircraft and ownership information and that’s considered fundamental to all the other rulemaking that will follow. The agency doesn’t expect to make a decision on remote ID requirements for at least two years after the publication of the NPRM. “There’s probably no schedule that we could ever show that would be fast enough [for implementation of remote ID],” Jay Merkle, director of the FAA’s UAS integration office, is quoted by Avionics International as saying at the Drone Advisory Committee meeting earlier this month.

Remote ID is considered essential by the FAA for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and law enforcement wants to be able to identify reckless or unlawful operators. Just how those signals are transmitted and collected is the main technical issue and so far Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and dedicated networks have been proposed. Industry groups are naturally pulling for the most cost-effective solutions and there is still plenty of discussion on what information such “digital license plates” should provide.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. “all drones emit some kind of signal giving aircraft and ownership information…to be able to identify reckless or unlawful operators”

    Unlawful and dangerous operators ARE NOT GOING TO FOLLOW THIS REQUIREMENT.
    Gun registration does not stops gun crime; 911 attacks were not stopped by ATC.
    I’m getting real tired of stupid being promoted as “common sense” laws.

  2. Well, if it is a design requirement, then it will be built in to the drone. The operator won’t have any active involvement in following the requirement. So (eventually) the only option for a criminal would be to buy an obsolete drone that was built before the requirement was set. Unlike a gun, these drones aren’t viable tools a decade or so after the date of manufacture.

    • A design requirement is NOT needed.
      1) Good drones are not the problem (like the 99.98% of gun owners).
      2) Bad guys with drones film themselves and publish it on Youtube, Facebook, or Al Jazeera.

      Reality is that this is not a problem and, if it ever did become one, this would be the wrong solution.
      If surveillance cameras had stopped convenience store robberies I’d change my mind. 😉

  3. … and license plates on cars have no effect on reckless and unlawful driving, Mark. Oh wait, they’ve had a huge impact 😉 on speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, and all manner of other “not in the best interest of other drivers” driving. The difference is all in the “surveillance”: toll roads with automatic plate readers are _much_ safer than Interstates, much less secondary roads. Around here, if you take a toll road without the proper transponder, you can expect to get a nasty-gram/bill from the authorities, with an unflattering photo of you at the wheel.

    As for your discussion forum stink-bomb that the moderator should have caught, you really should check the facts about global gun registration and gun crime, where they have actually tried it.

    • License plates have no effect at STOPPING criminals from committing criminal acts. Basically all they really do is make it easy for local communities to do revenue enhancement. As for toll roads, don’t get me started on the nasty grams it get for cars I no longer own and/or from states I never visit.

    • “…you really should check the facts about global gun registration and gun crime, where they have actually tried it.”

      Do you mean in places like Chicago and D.C.?

      • Gun crime?
        Gun is an adjective, crime is the noun.
        If you want to fight CRIME then fight crime; owing a gun is not crime.
        See the difference?