Airspace regulations set the stage for how the drone industry works. From safe flight practices to no-fly zones, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for making sure the drone industry doesn’t mimic Icarus in its ascent toward the sun.
Recently, the most hotly contested regulatory change has come in the form of the Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft proposal. To the FAA, it means more accountability and less specific regulation. To pilots and drone manufacturers, it means a systemic change in the way business gets done.
Set to go into effect in March, the FAA has pushed their new Remote ID requirements back a month to April 21 of this year, giving both pilots and drone manufacturers more time to adjust to the sweeping rules change.
But what is Remote ID, and why do you need to know about it?
For starters, Remote ID is the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties. To put it simply, consider it a digital license plate for your drone.
Regulators are hoping that the ability to immediately identify any drone in the sky will ensure that aerial operations are performed with more safety and accountability than ever before.
The rule change will require all drone manufacturers to outfit all new UAVs with Remote ID capabilities. But they’re not the only ones impacted — drone pilots will also have to retrofit all of their existing drones with technology that ensures their older drones can submit their IDs as well.
This is a huge change that will virtually impact everyone in the drone industry.
The FAA believes that Remote ID laws will lay the foundation for safer and more complex drone operations, and on paper, it makes sense.
After all, the more prevalent drones become in inspections and deliveries, the more we’ll need to ensure the safety and legality of those operations.
Nevertheless, drone industry insiders need to familiarize themselves with this new Remote ID rule due to the timeline of its implementation. After April 21, drone pilots and manufacturers will only have 18 months to ensure all new and existing drones have Remote ID capabilities.
It’s important to note that, with the Remote ID rule in place, the FAA is softening restrictions on night flights and flights over crowds, which would make thermal surveys and inspections easier to perform than ever before.
That trend could become the norm going forward, but for now, it’s important for everyone in the drone industry and beyond to understand Remote ID before it becomes law. Your future as a drone professional may depend on it.