The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) has been delayed – again. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is now scheduled for release in December 2019. These rules will address remote identification, which is the ability of a drone to transmit identifying information to other parties on the ground while operating in the national airspace. Those parties would include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), federal security agencies, and law enforcement officials.

Currently, UAS regulations do not provide a way for authorities to identify the owner of the drone except by physical inspection of a self-labeled registration number. Therefore, many drone operations can be conducted anonymously, even those that violate FAA regulations. The FAA aims to enhance the ability of state and federal authorities to respond to reports of a drone operating in an unsafe or unlawful manner (e.g., operation in a no-fly zone). The reason for this latest delay in releasing these remote identification requirements has not been expressed by lawmakers. However, the FAA will certainly be under pressure to act promptly and to try to meet this third deadline for release of these rules.