Multiple sources are reporting the government will announce Monday — finally! — that drones must be registered with the Department of Transportation. According to Fortune:
The plan adds hobbyists to those who must register their drones with the government. Previously, only commercial drone users had to register their aircraft with the FAA after getting the authorization to fly.
I’ve been ranting about the irresponsible use of drones for more than a year, and it’s about time some sort of controls were enacted. Drones have invaded privacy, disturbed wildlife, impeded fire fighting efforts, crashed into public events, and endangered airliners.
Fortune says the new regulations should be in place by Thanksgiving; NBC says Christmas. They’d better hurry. The FAA expects as many as one million drones to be sold during this year’s holiday season.
And for those tempted to skip the registration, CNN reports the FAA is testing anti-drone technology:
To counter drones flying uncomfortably close to airplanes, the FAA announced last week that it is testing anti-drone technology that would detect the ones flying within five miles of select airports.
It can force the drone to land but also pinpoint the drone operator, supporting the push for personal accountability.
Update, Monday, Oct 19: “Federal regulators to require registration of recreational drones” – from the Washington Post
19 thoughts on “Drone registration: It’s about time”
Don’t know how the new registration/regulations are going to work but given the nature of the beast, I don’t understand why we just don’t require people who want to be drone owners to be required to be licensed similar to a driver’s license. You take a written test, flying test and then are issued a drone license. Subsequent violations accessed accordingly.
Makes perfect sense to me. A lot of the drone incidents are reported to be the operator’s loss of control or ignorance of how high or far away their drone was.
If I may, another option might be to fit drones with small “transmittable” micro-chips that contain a unique registration/license number to include continuous GPS information that when in operation, can transmit that information and be detected and read by equipment installed in aircraft, police vehicles and monitoring locations that are then able to determine and/or transmit drone and controller locations to appropriate authorities. I’m not sure that the required technology to meet those requirements would actually be all that expensive in this day and age but on the surface would certainly seem to lend itself to safer skies. Drones would have to be registered with authorized sellers at time of purchase.
I also like the idea that drones should contain electronics that will automatically limit their altitude and range.
Alan has a good idea, but I can hear the drone lobbies complaining about the additional unit cost. They will file a law suit that will reach the Supreme Court where the rule or law will be judged to violate the Commerce clause….???
Don’t know if they have a lobby yet, but this being America, I’m sure some lawsuits are already being drafted.
Fukuyama calls the US the vetocracy. (Vetoes by legal action by interest groups.)
Too true, I’m afraid.
Radio Controlled airplanes and boats are nothing new. The technology has been around for years. Drones and the technology to operate them is just an adaptation of the the electronics of radio controlled devices. Yes,there will be regulations but the enthusiast will find a way to circumvent FAA and government regulations along with those who wish to do harm. I am all for the regulations,but only law abiding people will adhere to them…making this another nightmare waiting to happen. With out a good internal moral compass to guide each one of us, what are we to do?
Previously, radio-controlled model planes (and boats) had to stay within a certain distance of the operator. Line of sight too, I think. That’s why all those model planes just flew in circles around the operator.
As for finding a way around the new regs, it sounds like the FAA is already perfecting technology to track rogue drones, possibly shoot them down or disable them, and pinpoint the operator’s location.
I don’t buy the argument that only law abiding citizens will adhere to laws. If that were true, we wouldn’t be enacting any laws at all. At the very least they serve notice to all that such behavior will not be tolerated and violators, if caught, will face penalties.
Good points PietType…but by definition criminals do not obey the laws which is a strong indication of a break down in their moral compass. How sever must the penalties be before we as a people learn?
I don’t think we’ll ever be free of criminals. There will always be people who, for whatever reason, will do what they want to do regardless of the penalty.
Our neighbor used a drone to get spectacular shots of the views around his vacation rental. I note the use of drones, also, to take photos from above of wildlife on land and sea without spooking them. These seem like pretty harmless uses. The use of drones to bomb people is what concerns me most.
Drones in national parks so disturbed the wildlife that a law was passed prohibiting their use in national parks. That’s all the proof I need that drones do disturb wildlife — not to mention visitors trying to observe that wildlife.
People lived without spectacular aerial shots of their homes in the past; they can do it again. For realtors, however, those shots are commercial, a part of their doing business, and I think they already need permits for their drones.
Drones are a fun toy for millions of hobbyists. But they pose hazards that must be addressed.
I am loate to see the feds regulate one more thing, but most of these drones need supervision. Thus I support this move depending on how its done. I’ve seen them used to track wildlife and this can be scientifically useful.
Licensing is necessary. At least keep drones away from airports and park areas set aside for animals.
I visited a pond park in San Diego where the “older” boys were racing with their toy yachts (really drones?). Fun to watch them, one man with his son. A sign at the edge of this city pond specified that radio operated items could not be used near the airport. (The pond was in one of those dead areas near a flight path.)
As people no longer have common sense, decency, or the ability to do what is right in many cases – like drone flights, either reel them in or time for a new sport like clay pidgeons
Annoyed citizens are already shooting at them. And don’t forget the Colorado town last year that wanted to issue hunting licenses for them.
People do not like them snooping around house windows and yards/pools with daughters/wives sun bathing here. And then there’s been multiple one at both airports paralleling planes. Talk about looking for trouble.
Well, they’re about to find it.