You would be hard pressed to find someone in the professional UAS world that does not believe that the safety of the industry needs to be improved. Remote ID is one step that the FAA is taking to better the safety, and therefore sustainability, of the UAS industry.
Remote ID will provide identification of a UAS while it is in flight. This will allow ground and air tracking of the UAS.
Remote ID is the first step the FAA is taking to establish an “unmanned traffic management ecosystem.” This ecosystem will act as an air traffic system for 400 ft AGL and below.
The implementation of Remote ID is necessary for the growth of the UAS industry. It will pave the way for greater overall safety as well as the potential for beyond line of side operations.
The current FAA NPRM does, however, have its flaws. Both hobbyists and professional UAS operators have concerns with the proposed rule.
The current state of the proposed rule creates new burdens and costs to all UAS operators. A rule does nothing if there is no compliance to it. Due to the burdens, costs, and safety issues associated with the current proposed rule, compliance is a concern.
One big safety concern is the requirement for control station latitude and longitude to be broadcasted to the public. This means that anyone has the ability to see where a UAS is being operated from.
While providing command location is no big deal to a large company flying UAS’s, the cards change when it comes to a private citizen. Especially a minor.
If a disgruntled neighbor wanted to figure out who is flying a UAS in the neighborhood, or a hunter was bothered by a UAS flying nearby and scaring away deer, all he would need to do is look at the control station location. This opens up the potential for retaliation if someone does not like the UAS being flown.
There are still a great deal of people who are scared of drones or do not understand the laws surrounding them. Because of this, having to share control location with everyone can pose some serious safety concerns.
The NRPM also calls for all UAS users, private or corporate, to share flight data with the government and the general public. This poses a threat to companies using drones for property security or surveillance.
Right now, the plan for remote ID would also require UAS pilots or companies to buy a subscription to have location data tracked and send to the government. This would be an additional cost for both hobbyists and businesses.
Another concern from hobbyists is the specific restrictions placed on “certain amateur-built UAS.” Many home built UASs assist in lowering the costs of participating in the hobby. Some drones would also be physically incapable of complying with the new rule.
Anyone unable to comply with these new rules due to costs or drone specifications will be severely limited in their future flying capabilities.
Many shareholders in the industry are happy that the FAA is moving forward with establishing a structure of rules. The rules we establish now will help pave the way for the future.
The industry needs structure to help better establish safety and a sustainable path forward. Without Remote ID or an air traffic management system, the safety and sustainability of the industry are up in the air.
The current proposed rule, however, needs work to establish safety and sustainability for all drone operators.
The FAA has opened up commenting for the NPRM on Remote ID until March 2, 2020.
David Roush, former Marine, pilot, and CEO of Aerie Collective urges anyone in connection with the aviation industry to comment.
“We must be allowed to grow together, FAA, Hobbyists, Professional Aviators and UAS operators alike. It is not just enough to seek structure, we need to seek it in ways that encourage the industry to keep growing without putting people at risk. Commenting on the NPRM is one of the best ways to communicate with policy makers throughout this process.”
David believes the future of drones belongs to all of us and it is up to us to ensure its success. He says the industry provides solutions to many of the greatest problems we face such as more efficient transportation, quicker deliveries, and safer emergency support, which is why it is important to get the rules right while the industry is still young.
Please check out the NPRM in the link below and let your voice be heard!
Things to Consider when Commenting:
Remote ID will help Law Enforcement determine which UAS’s are friendly and which might pose a threat.
We don’t know the extent at which personal information will or will not be protected.
The current state of the Remote ID law has the ability to extremely diminish the potential for hobbyists to fly their UAS’s.
The safety of private citizens and minors flying UAS’s could potentially be compromised.
The industry needs to establish a level of structure for there to be a sustainable future for UAS operations.
FAA – Federal Aviation Administration NPRM – Notice for Proposed Rule Making UAS – Unmanned Aerial System
Full Proposed Rule : https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/31/2019- 28100/remote-identification-of-unmanned-aircraft-systems
FAA Traffic Management Statement: https://www.faa.gov/uas/research_development/traffic_management/
FAA Remote ID description: https://www.faa.gov/uas/research_development/remote_id/
About the Author:
Ki Guillen is a UAS Operator with a background in government and imaging operations. She is currently working with Aerie Collective to establish a better infrastructure to the UAS industry. You can find out more about Aerie Collective at https://www.aeriecollective.com/