Drone registration recommendations handed to FAA

A consumer drone registration scheme is expected to be in place in December

A mandatory consumer drone registration system looks set to be in force in the U.S. before the end of the year after an industry task force delivered its proposals for the system on Saturday.

The group, which included representatives from Google, Amazon and 23 other organizations that use and make drones, was asked a little less than a month ago to come up with the proposal.

With its submission on Saturday,  the FAA and U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) will consider the recommendations along with several thousand comments from members of the public before announcing an interim rule. That is due in December and will go into force soon after it's published, the DOT said.

The fast pace of rule making became necessary because the FAA and DOT are concerned that hundreds of thousands of drones will be given as gifts during the year-end holidays leading to a spike in safety incidents involving the craft.

Drones have interfered with California wildfire operations, buzzed uncomfortably close to airports and airplanes, carried contraband into a prison yard and crashed a U.S. Open tennis tournament -- and at present there is no easy way for anyone to identify who the drone belongs to or who is operating it, short of physically locating the person.

The FAA didn't detail the recommendations of the task force, but they are reported to include the requirement to register drones that weigh 250 grams or more. Registration would be completed online, cover multiple drones owned by the same person and owners would have to attach their registration number to their drone.

What wouldn't change is the current rules under which consumers can fly drones. Regulations are relatively light as the craft are supposed to remain in unregulated airspace below 400 feet and not take off within 5 miles of an airport, but its the failure of some pilots to abide by these restrictions that has prompted the move to a registration system. 

The DOT, which oversees the FAA, has said that even though unmanned aircraft are doing things such as inspecting infrastructure and crops and aiding wildlife monitoring, they have also begun to interfere with people's lives, sometimes in dangerous ways.

Pilots have reported seeing unmanned aircraft twice more frequently than they did in 2014. Some forecasts say 400,000 new drones could be in homes by the end of the year, meaning that unmanned aircraft could soon far outnumber manned aircraft in the U.S. airspace, the DOT noted.

Separate rules governing commercial flight of drones are also being formulated by the FAA under a longer process that isn't expected to be complete until 2017.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags drones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?