Drone Registration ‘Will be Really Bad:’ Task Force Member

Future versions of the drone registration system will need a "reasonably sophisticated way of connecting a drone to its operator.”

Photo Caption: Bob Young, CEO of PrecisionHawk, said the drone industry needs to stay ahead of the "bad actors," the 0.0001 percent who want "to use drones to do something seriously dangerous." (Photo Credit: John West)

We’ve all said it: the drone registration system seems rushed, it won’t work, there’s no way it will be in place before Christmas. Whether the process will be in place before the holidays remains unknown, but we now have word straight from the horse’s mouth that the system will be less than adequate.

Bob Young, CEO of PrecisionHawk, one of the 25 members of the drone registration task force, told The Guardian, “yes, registration will happen for this Christmas. And yes, it will be really bad. What I’m focused on is just to be a little bit better tomorrow, and that allows you to embrace the fact that you’re really bad today.”

Certainly not what drone hobbyists want to hear. Young added that future versions of the registration system will need a “reasonably sophisticated way of connecting a drone to its operator.” And that shouldn’t be hard to do, Young said. PrecisionHawk is actually already developing a drone air traffic control system called Low Altitude Traffic and Airspace Safety (Latas). It uses Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless data, Iridium satellite links, GPS navigation and ADS-B radio surveillance technology and is being tested in North Carolina.

Read the complete recommendation report from the drone registration task force.

“I’m fully supportive of what the FAA is trying to do,” said Young. “Their first initiative will be flawed … but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t start somewhere, or that they shouldn’t commit to making it better next Christmas and even better the Christmas after that.”

Young added that the drone industry needs to stay ahead of the “bad actors,” the 0.0001 percent who want “to use drones to do something seriously dangerous.”

“Do you mandate that everyone who flies a drone has some sort of homing beacon connected to the drone? So that at the same time that the FAA knows where the drone is through the cellphone or satellite network, it also knows where the drone’s operator is on the planet.”

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The drone registration delivered its report to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Nov. 21, recommending that drones that weigh under 55 pounds and above 250 grams need to be registered.

The task force recommended registration be owner-based, meaning each registrant will have a single registration number that covers all drones the registrant owns.

The task force also recommended that a certificate of registration be sent to the registrant at the time of registration. The certificate will be sent electronically, unless a paper copy is requested, or unless the traditional aircraft registration process is utilized. The registration certificate will contain the registrant’s name, FAA-issued registration number, and the FAA registration website that can be used by authorized users to confirm registration information.

Unless the registrant chooses to provide the FAA with the aircraft’s serial number, the registration number should be affixed to the drone, the task force recommended. Whether the owner chooses to rely on the serial number or affix the FAA-issued registration number to the aircraft, the marking must be readily accessible and maintained in a condition that is readable and legible upon close visual inspection.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


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Article Topics

Robot Fun · Drones · News · Advice & Opinion · Drones · All Topics

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