It was bound to happen. Today, the Obama administration announced its intentions to create a task force to require owners of drones to register their unmanned aerial vehicles in an effort to curtail the close calls and growing safety risks. Drones have increasingly posed a threat to firefighters and commercial flights as they have become more popular and available to consumers.
In a report by Reuters, “the FAA has reported more than 650 unauthorized drone sightings so far this year, as of Aug. 9, compared with 238 for all of 2014. If sightings continue at that rate, the number would near 1,100 by the year end.” The new registry would require all drone owners to register their devices – consumers and hobbyists included.
This registry would help identify rogue drones (such as the ones that prohibited firefighters from battling a wildfire earlier this year), as well as educate people on drone flying safety and flying restrictions near airports, around public venues, and in National Parks (I saw a tourist flying a drone in Yosemite National Park this weekend). Earlier this month, a company was hit with $1.9 million in fines by the FAA for unauthorized drone use. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says in the press conference below that their issue hasn’t been identifying drones, but locating its owner.
Hoping to have a registry in place by Christmas, where it is anticipated that an estimated million drones “could be given as gifts,” the FAA hopes that the registry will encourage people to fly their UAVs more responsibly. And if they don’t, there will be consequences for their actions. Foxx says,
The signal we’re sending today is that when you enter the national air space, it’s a very serious matter.
A 25-30 member task force that will include government and industry officials, as well as hobbyists, will hammer out the details, including what types of drones will need to be registered, as well as the penalties for flying an unregistered drone. Their deadline is November 20th so that they can have the rules in place by mid-December. This will apply to current and new drone owners.
What do you think about the proposed drone registry? Leave a comment below.
Thanks to SLR Lounge reader ahsanford for the tip!