The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued final rules for unmanned aircrafts (or drones) for remote identification and the operation of drones at night and above people.
The Remote Identification Rule (Remote ID Rule) will allow operators of small drones to fly over people and at night under certain conditions. The FAA hopes that these rules will support technological and operational innovation and advancement.
Remote ID provides identification of drones in flight as well as the location of their local control stations, which will provide important information for national security agencies and law enforcement. The Remote ID Rule will apply to all operators of drones that require FAA registration. There are three ways that an operator can comply with the Remote ID Rule:
- Operate a standard Remote ID drone that broadcasts identification and location information of the drone and control station;
- Operate a drone with a Remote ID broadcast module (may be a separate device attached to the drone), which broadcasts identification, location, and take-off information; or
- Operate a drone without Remote ID but at specific FAA-recognized identification areas.
The Operations Over People and at Night Rule will apply to Part 107 drone operators. Under Part 107, flights over people and at night are prohibited unless the operator seeks a waiver from the FAA. With this new Rule, the ability to fly over people and moving vehicles will be based on the level of risk that the operation poses on people below. There are four categories of risk, which can be found in the FAA’s execute summary here.
Both Rules will become effective within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register. The Remote ID Rule has two important deadlines: drone manufacturers will have 18 months to begin producing drones with Remote ID and operators will have an additional year to start using drones with Remote ID.
Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said that these final rules “carefully address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for innovation and utilization of drone technology.”
With over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots, this industry’s growth is only on the way up.