Consumer drones continue to grow both in capabilities and sheer numbers at a rate that seems to be outpacing the government’s ability to find a way to properly integrate them into the national airspace. As the FAA works to catch up, their newest proposal could be a big step forward.
The drone industry definitely has a bit of a Wild West feel to it at the moment. I frequently see them buzzing around in places they shouldn’t be, most often out of ignorance, not willful disregard. After all, the sudden explosion of affordable machines with advanced capabilities has taken them out of the exclusive hands of specialists and into the general population, who don’t spend anywhere near enough time in this line of work to be expected to know the rules. After all, toys and FAA regulations aren’t two things the layperson normally associates. A federal court recently ruled against previous drone registration rules, leaving the FAA to develop a new method. Part of the problem with the old rules was that there was no way to identify drones while they were airborne, and anyone who wanted to skirt the rules could simply not put the registration sticker on their drone and there would be no real way to identify the owner.
A new proposal (as part of new recommendations coming on September 30) details a remote identification system, though it’s not clear what that would entail at the moment. Such a system could possibly lead to more stringent and frequent enforcement of regulations, but would also likely be a necessary component of an automated drone delivery network that companies like Amazon envision. Of course, implementing such an infrastructure into the current air traffic control system would be no small task, so it remains to be seen what and how exactly the FAA plans to do this. The committee’s next meeting will be July 18-19.[via Gizmodo]
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