The US FAA seems to have suddenly realised every dad in America is getting a drone for Christmas. So, it’s setting up a ‘drone taskforce‘ to try and register every drone before US airspace is shut down by a million plastic quadrotors. Amazon, Google and Walmart seem to be on board.
The panel working on the FAA’s proposal includes popular drone manufacturers like DJI, companies working on drone delivery services like Amazon and Google, and retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy.
To its credit, the FAA is trying to work out a system that can register every aircraft, in accordance with standing US federal law, whilst not putting a damper on the expansion of the budding drone industry. Different users have radically different needs: photo drones from DJI, flown by anyone with a rich uncle, are going to work in a vastly different space to 20kg delivery drones operated by Amazon’s supercomputer.
As you’d imagine, there’s a whole host of different proposals. Google’s David Vos, one of the co-chairs of the FAA’s working group, thinks all drones should have a version of the ADS-B collision warning system used by passenger airliners. On the other side of the coin, the regulations might be as loose as associating a name with a serial number when you purchase a drone. Hopefully, the input of so many private companies will defy standard government logic and actually produce a system that makes sense.