The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have issued a large set of changes and amendments to US drone law, the scale of which has never been seen before and are set to have a significant impact on drone technology in the US.
What do these changes mean?
There are several changes that will benefit drone users, including being able to fly over people and at night with correct licenses.
However, the most noticable change is in the mandatory tracking of drones. By 2023, it may be illegal to fly most drones unless they broadcast their own location.
Additionally, by 2022, US government requirements state that every new ‘mass-produced’ drone weighing over 0.55 pounds (0.25kg) to broadcast the location of the drone.
This broadcast data will contain a ‘Remote ID’ as part of a ‘digital license plate’, including registered user details, along with altitude, height, bearing and other location data.
Most importantly here, the rules on Remote ID doesn’t just apply to new drones. By 2023, existing drones will need to abide by the same rules, regardless of age. This will create issues for operators of any drone from earlier than 2022, whose devices won’t have this technology inbuilt.
There’s no exemptions for racing drones or custom drones, or for any specific purposes. It’s a blanket rule. Operators will need to retrofit the drone with a new broadcast module.
What is the solution?
Fortunately, we have anticipated these changes, and are set to formally launch our ‘AeroTracker’ solution early in 2021 following a period of testing.
AeroTracker is a real-time drone transponder and Remote ID device, which when attached to an existing drone would ensure that it fully complies with the new FAA regulations.
It is a small, 1.4 ounce (40g) device that easily attaches to drones, making no noticeable difference to the look or performance. When active, it transmits the drone’s position and altitude every second over the GSM network.
The drone’s position is then shown on our custom built interface, or any other system which is capable of receiving ADS-B format data.
We will be releasing more details of AeroTracker in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Where can I find out more?
You can find the full text of the Remote ID rule (PDF) here.
If you would like to discuss these changes or our AeroTracker solution with us, please get in touch via our contact page.