FAA Committee Calls for Mandatory Drone ID and Tracking

 - December 20, 2017, 11:37 AM

The FAA's UAS aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) has released its final recommendations, which call for remote ID and tracking of drones with data sent to an Internet database via both direct broadcast and network publishing. Data would include drone owner and pilot identification, a unique identifier for each drone and tracking information. The ARC also asked the FAA to coordinate this information into the national air traffic control system, but safeguard the information and disclose it only to authorized parties.

While the report was approved by the majority of the ARC members, there was some dissent, particularly with the report's recommendation to exclude recreational drones from the proposed mandate. The FAA is expected to incorporate the ARC recommendations into its draft of a final UAS rule expected to be released next year.

The ARC report drew significant praise from the UAS community and other stakeholders, who saw it as a way to safely expand UAS operations. Drone manufacturer DJI said its recently launched AeroScope system would already fulfill any potential mandate for identification via direct broadcast.

The Drone Manufacturers Alliance, alluding to Aeroscope and similar systems, urged the FAA not to mandate additional equipment for drone ID and tracking, but said that imposing the requirements would clear the way for more widespread drone applications, including flight beyond line of sight, over people and at night. Notably, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) also supported the recommendations, encouraging the FAA to implement them without delay. “Identification and tracking technologies are needed urgently,” ALPA said.