Feds to require drone registrations
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving to require drone users to register with the federal government.
The agency said Monday that it is developing a task force to craft a registration system for drones after an increase in the number of pilots who have reported sightings of the devices during flights.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the forthcoming registration system would help to reduce the possibility of midair collisions between drones and planes.
“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said in a statement. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been in the process of developing rules for commercial drones, but the new rules would also apply to recreational devices.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the registration requirements are necessary to ensure drones can operate safely alongside commercial flights.
“These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”
Lawmakers who have raised concerns about potential privacy violations from increased drone use said the registration requirements would not be too burdensome for drone users.
“We require car registration to ensure safety and accountability, and we should do the same for drones,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement.
“We have rules of the road, but in this Brave New World, now we need rules of the sky,” he continued. “Standards for informing the public and promoting accountability must be put in place now to protect safety and individual privacy as the drones are taking flight.”