FAA Proposal Aims at Making Drones Fly over Larger Distances Safely

Drone-driven commerce has already taken off. With this, the sheer pace of increasing drone numbers has also upped the concerns of public safety and rogue operators. The U.S. is likely to see formulation of new tracking rules for drones, if the law enforcement agencies have their say. Some sort of tracking mandate was already on the minds of hobbyists and commercial operators. But until now, no formal system are in place. Existing regulations mandate operators to keep drones within their sight—typically 400 feet from the ground.

In what seems to a debatable proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), drone operators in coming couple years might need to implement an elaborate tracking system. Specifically, all drones weighing more than 0.25 kilograms, excluding smallest civilian drones and model airplanes, have to radio broadcast their position and their identity.

Law Enforcement Agencies Want Drones to Remain Under Radar at All Times

The idea behind the draft rules is that drones in the U.S. should always remain in the radar of law enforcement agencies. The tracking device will lie at the hands of local enforcement agencies to track operators with nefarious motives. Meanwhile, those who want to just upload the tracking information on the net must be happy to keep their drones within 400 feet. A remote control system will always keep an eye on drones, once the draft regulations become a legislation. It might take at least three years before the country has a mandate. Till then, these are open to public feedback.

Interestingly, the legislation won’t be done retrospectively. Rather, new drones must pass the approval process by concerned regulatory agencies. Furthermore, this would mean that older ones will become obsolete.

Rising Security Threats Motivated Regulatory Mandate

The opinions are mixed. Purportedly, a China-based world-leading manufacturer of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, has reservations. The mandate would largely propel the cost of drone manufacturing to the higher side. Stridently, Amazon has called for a more formal system. This is necessary to prevent the sky getting too congested with drones.

Having said that, a larger mechanism was already on the cards, given the operators not giving heed to existing rules on drone flying. At times, this has led to collision or driving in prohibited areas. Worse, regulators have witnessed public security threats, with the risk of drones carrying explosives.  Eventually, more numbers of drone will take their flight and over larger distance, and with greater safety.