Remote Identification: First Step in Expanded Drone Operations? Feb05

Share This

Remote Identification: First Step in Expanded Drone Operations?

In our first posting of 2020, we covered the FAA’s Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems notice of proposed rulemaking and promised that we would be blogging on the impacts of the proposed new rule.  This is the second of a series of postings as to the significance of the proposed new rule.

There are undeniable potential benefits of drones. They can deliver critical medicine to remote areas as easily as they can deliver a package to a front door. They can improve worker safety by conducting inspections in areas where it would be dangerous for a human to go. However, drone operations often face impossible hurdles in the form of FAA regulations that do not contemplate creative and unintended positive uses of drones. The enforcement challenges that necessitate the remote identification rulemaking also functioned as barriers to expanded drone operations. 

Enter the remote identification rulemaking. 

The proposed rule gives regulators access to critical information about the location of drones and their operators. This, in turn, will help to address key safety and security concerns underlying the present prohibition against operating at night or outside the operator’s line of sight.

The FAA has already indicated that it anticipates the remote identification rule will “assist in the implementation of operations of small UAS over people and at night.” In fact, the FAA’s proposed rulemaking on the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Over People (issued in February of 2019) explicitly stated that the FAA intended to finalize its policy on remote identification prior to completing the rulemaking for flight over people and at night. The FAA also expects that the information provided pursuant to the remote identification rule will facilitate the technologies necessary for operation of a drone beyond the operator’s visual line of sight.

In short, we should anticipate that the final remote identification rulemaking will be the foundation for future expanded drone operations.