The FAA Wants to Track All Drones Across the U.S.

By Gabriela Vatu / December 27, 2019

Drones are cool, but they've been quite problematic over the years, which is why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to be able to track them all down when flying in U.S. airspace.

Currently, the F.A.A. isn't allowed to do this, but they're proposing new regulations that would give them permission to track all drones by requiring they incorporate appropriate technology.

"Remote ID technologies will enhance safety and security by allowing the FAA, law enforcement, and federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction," said Elaine L. Chao, the federal transportation secretary.

While drones can be used to take cool pics of the whole neighborhood, for instance, they can also be used to invade people's personal space and to transport drugs or act as weapons. Obviously, this can be highly problematic.

The proposal is quite a heavy read, counting 319 pages, and it tries to cover all basis. One of the big issues with this is the fact that it would force manufacturers to install tracking hardware, which many users feel it goes against their privacy. This would also increase costs for manufacturers and many voices in the industry believe the chances would drastically hinder drone efficiency and their company profits.

Basically, all drones that are over 0.55 pounds would have to emit a particular type of signal which would allow the FAA to identify their location and track them down. Currently, operators of drones above half a pound are required to register their devices by submitting personal information such as names, email and home addresses.

Another issue that they've discovered with the newly proposed policy is that all registered drones will need to carry a specific type of remote identification system that broadcasts over the Internet. This can be an issue since not all locations have cellular service, which could mean that operators would have to limit flight distance to about 400 feet laterally.

Paul Aiken, a founder of DroneU, a drone pilot training company, told N.Y. Times that people will die from these rules because search and rescue missions that use drones often require at least four times that distance. Other areas may be affected also, especially drones used for utility inspection, precision agriculture, ranch management, and so on, where drones are quite useful.

The proposed legislation is open for comment over the next 60 days before the regulations become law.

What do you think about what the F.A.A. wants to do? Drop us a note in the comments section below and tell us whether you agree with the move or not. Share the article online with friends and family and follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter for more tech news, guides, reviews, and interviews.

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