The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward on drone remote ID.
Drone Remote ID will enable drones to provide identification and location information while operating in the nation’s airspace.
The FAA selected the following 8 companies that will work with the FAA to develop technology requirements for future suppliers: Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers (USS):
- Amazon, which operates PrimeAir
- One Sky, spun off from AGI (recently raised a Series A)
- Wing. Owned by Google*
These companies were selected through a Request for Information process in December 2018.
U.S. Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao, explained:
“The FAA will be able to advance the safe integration of drones into our nation’s airspace from these technology companies’ knowledge and expertise on remote identification.”*
Remote ID for drones poses a challenge for both regulators and the industry. Critics complain that the standard of broadcast Remote ID might be too expensive for many pilots, while legitimate and safe operations for recreational pilots may be severely limited.
According to an agency press release:
“The agency’s ability to develop Remote ID technology simultaneously with the rule enables the FAA to continue to build on a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system that has demonstrated global leadership through the small UAS rule and the implementation of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which automates the application and approval process for most UAS operators to obtain airspace authorizations.”*
The applications will provide drone identification and location information to safety and security authorities while in flight.
Application requirements for companies who wish to become service suppliers for Remote Identification will be announced when the final Remote ID rule is published. The Press release explains: “The FAA will provide updates when other entities can apply to become qualified Remote ID USS on FAA.gov.”*
Through the drone remote identification system described in the agency’s proposed drone remote ID rule, drone operators will be required to transmit their location, by broadcast and network. Their drone’s location, velocity, and identifying data is received by a centralized system.
The reaction to this rule among UAS service providers, hobbyists, law enforcement agencies, and many other stakeholders, was quick because of the concern for the cost of compliance, privacy implications, timeline for implementation, etc.
The FAA defined one of the purposes of remote ID as “to provide greater situational awareness” of drones.
Such a goal, if achieved, should certainly make flying more safe. The question is, what will the FAA require to make such a goal a reality?
Virtually everyone in the drone sector, especially stakeholders across the drone industry, are anxiously awaiting a final remote ID rule and technology architecture.