The FAA announced today that it will issue two new rules for drone pilots in the United States. The first is to implement a long awaited remote ID. The system effectively acts as a sort of digital license plate for unmanned aircraft, sending identifying details, including the location of the vehicle.
The full text of the final new rule can be found here. In short, drone operators have one of three methods of compliance:
1. Operate a standard remote ID drone that sends identification and location information of the drone and the control station.
2. Operate a drone with a remote ID broadcast module (possibly a separate device connected to the drone) that broadcasts identification, location and launch information. or
3. Operate a drone without Remote ID, but in certain FAA-approved identification areas.
While some drone operators are likely to be deterred by additional regulations, their arrival is understandable given the sheer volume and speed of drone adoption. According to the FAA, more than 1.7 million drones have been registered in the US, along with around 203,000 certifications for drone pilots. Those numbers will likely just snowball as more drones move into commercial use.
In particular, the FAA sees the new rules as a method to expedite the delivery of drones in the United States. "The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety concerns," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a bound press release on the news. "They bring us closer to the day when drone operations like delivering packages are becoming more routine."
Also new is the rule “Operations over people and at night”, which, as the name suggests, regulates both the ability to fly over people and to fly at night. The rule offers a number of different qualifications for compliance, including weighing less than 0.55 pounds to fly overhead.
According to the rule, "Small unmanned aerial vehicles must not inflict human injury equal to or greater than the severity of injury caused by the transfer of 25 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object exposed to rotating parts exposed to the Impact with a person could injure human skin and do not contain safety defects. "
To fly at night, drones must be equipped with working anti-collision lights that are visible for three miles. The rules are set to be officially published next month and officially go into effect 60 days later. Drone manufacturers have a year and a half to add Remote ID to their devices. In August, the FAA gave Amazon permission to attempt delivery.