Drone Regulation: Big Brother Will Be Watching
A big announcement occurred during a press conference on Monday about the future of drone regulation in the US. US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx revealed the decision that all drones, whether commercial or recreational, will need to be registered with the government, logistics forthcoming.
To alleviate concerns about the threats that drones may pose to air safety, all drones will now be subject to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that will allow the government to track and identify operators and aircrafts. The FAA currently receives about 100 reports of drone sightings in prohibited areas – most notably, the White House – per month nationwide. Drone operators will be held accountable for air safety knowledge and practicing responsible flight operation, just as pilots are for manned aircraft.
“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”
Foxx also announced the formation of a task force to determine the specifics of the aforementioned regulations and to decide how the registration process will work, especially for the registration of hobbyist or recreational unmanned aircraft, which have been operating without restriction until now. It is possible that these model aircraft may be exempt from regulation, but it is up to the task force to decide their future and how the registration process would be enforced.
Up until now, the FAA required only commercial or publicly operated unmanned aircraft to register alongside manned aircraft; a lengthy, inefficient process that required review of physical paperwork by FAA employees or contractors. The hope is that the task force will be able to develop a streamlined system for registrations.
The task force has only been given until November 20, just two months’ time, to make their proposal so that regulations could be issued as soon as mid-December. It seems that those following the saga of drone regulation may not have too much longer to wait for the next installment, if the task force can complete their work with any efficiency.
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