The United States Federal Aviation Administration has received recommendations from a task force investigating small unmanned aerial vehicles. As expected, it’s been put forth that drones weighing more than 9 ounces (approximately 250 grams) will need to be registered with the government.
This task force — comprised of not only government officials but also those from aviation companies, retailers, and drone manufacturers — put forth these recommendations as a way to clear up confusion about how drone pilots can operate these devices legally. The regulation requirement was not set forth by this group, but by Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation.
However, not wanting to debate the merit of that rule, the task force decided to find a way to implement it so that it was easy as possible and efficient. Its recommendations include requiring drone owners to register through the Web or in an app. When they do so, they’ll be provided an electronic certificate of registration and a personal universal registration number that can be used on all small unmanned drones that the individual operates. That number must be placed on all drones before they can be legally operated in the U.S.
Within the report’s executive summary, it stated that some decisions by the committee were not unanimous and the recommendations were derived through compromise.
The focus on those drones that weigh 9 ounces or more is out of concern for safety and risk — the heavier the vehicle, the greater damage it could do if it crashed to the ground.
Registration would be free and the system would have an API that would let multiple app clients to feed registration information into the government database. So instead of visiting the FAA’s website to register, you could do so right from the 3D Robotics or DJI mobile app.
Represented on this task force are 3D Robotics, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the Air Line Pilots Association, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Retail, the American Association of Airport Executives, Best Buy, the Consumer Technology Association, DJI, GoogleX, GoPro, Helicopter Association International, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Parrot, Precision Hawk, and Walmart.
Michael Huerta, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement: “At the direction of the Secretary, the FAA announced the formation of a task force to develop a process for owners of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to register their aircraft. This group of experts embraced the challenge with the energy and creativity we expected and delivered its report to me today as scheduled. We thank them for their excellent and expeditious work. I will work with my team at the FAA to review their recommendations, as well as public comments we received, as we present the recommendations to Secretary Foxx. We will work quickly and flexibly to move toward the next steps for registration.”
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