Remote Identification (Remote ID) is the concept that drones should have a digital license plate. If officials can track who is flying where, when, and for what purpose, then drones may be permitted to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and above people. DJI’s Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs, Brendan Schulman, along with Mark Aitken, who serves on the drone manufacturer’s D.C. Advocacy Team, had brought a proposal to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI) annual XPONENTIAL conference over two years ago.
The lack of progress on this initiative, which will open up opportunities for commercial remote pilots, and safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS), is frustrating to both industry stakeholders and small business owners. Senators on opposing sides of the political spectrum recently united and urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to take action. Rulemaking, which was initially scheduled to commence this past May, has been delayed to a proposed date of December 20, 2019.
|The USDOT website has confirmed another delay on rulemaking for Remote ID.|
This latest postponement has been confirmed in the August 2019 rulemaking report from the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) website. The report reads ‘This action would implement system(s) for the remote identification of certain unmanned aircraft systems. The remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system would further address security and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the national airspace while also enabling greater operational capabilities by these same aircraft.’
Commenting on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) has been pushed back from October 29th to February 1, 2020. These are projected dates, meaning that the publication of and commenting on the NPRM could potentially be delayed even further. AUVSI’s president and CEO, Brian Wynne, released the following statement regarding the USDOT’s latest significant rulemaking report:
It’s disappointing the rulemaking for remote identification has been delayed again. The need for remote identification cannot be overstated, as the advancement of the UAS industry depends on identifying and tracking UAS flying in the airspace.
‘It’s disappointing the rulemaking for remote identification has been delayed again. The need for remote identification cannot be overstated, as the advancement of the UAS industry depends on identifying and tracking UAS flying in the airspace. Remote ID is necessary for enabling advanced and expanded operations such as flights over people and beyond line of sight, which will provide significant benefits throughout our economy and society. Most importantly, remote ID is critical for ensuring airspace safety by helping law enforcement identify and distinguish authorized UAS from those that may pose a security threat. We urge the FAA to move as quickly as possible with rulemaking for remote identification to keep the skies safe for all aircraft — both manned and unmanned.’
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Deputy Administrator, Daniel K. Elwell, had publicly stated that ‘we are making progress toward the full integration of drones’ and ‘the idea is to crawl, walk, and run, but we are doing so rapidly.’ Given this latest setback, coupled with another delay on the proposed rule for Section 2209, which will provide protections for drone flights near critical infrastructure, it seems like the FAA needs make an effort to ensure their actions are consistent with their words.