The world’s top drone manufacturers have given their endorsement to a report that recommends authorities identify and track airborne drones by receiving local signals from them.
Suppliers including 3DR, DJI, GoPro and Parrot, which belong to The Drone Manufacturers Alliance, said they were “pleased” with the outcome of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) committee report, which was released in the US before Christmas.
Although the report was compiled exclusively for the US market, drone professionals from all around the world will be watching with interest to see how the recommendations will be enforced.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) report ruled that local broadcast technology is a “viable and efficient way” to address safety and security concerns about drones.
With remote identification standards in place, the FAA can move forward on rulemaking to allow more expansive beneficial uses of drones, including by flying at night, over people and beyond the operator’s visual line of sight.
In a statement, The Drone Manufacturers Alliance said it believes that law enforcement, national security and aviation safety authorities need a simple and reliable way to monitor airborne drones.
“We appreciate how the ARC’s careful work has shown that direct broadcast technologies are the most efficient way to transmit, receive and analyse drone identification information,” commented Kara Calvert, director of the Drone Manufacturers Alliance.
“We urge the FAA to use this report to implement technologies that will pose a minimal burden upon drone users and manufacturers, which will encourage compliance, and keep the skies safe for drones, traditional aviation and the general public.”
The ARC report recommended that most drones in popular use today should provide their identification and flight tracking information to authorities by directly broadcasting that data to localised receivers.
This system would function like an automobile license plate, providing a basic identification code that authorities can use to learn more about a drone’s operation. Some drones would be allowed to use a networked system as an optional alternative, if an internet connection is available.
The Drone Manufacturers Alliance is now encouraging regulatory authorities to note the ARC report’s conclusion that several promising drone tracking and monitoring technologies can be implemented without adding additional equipment to drones.
It said that integrated solutions using existing drone equipment will encourage the use of drones for beneficial purposes, whereas new equipment requirements would add cost and engineering complexity to drones as well as impose new burdens and costs upon the people who use them.