The FAA Remote ID Rule
News update from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Last December 28, 2020, FAA has released its final rules for drones or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The new rules state that drones are required to have a remote ID.
It applies to all recreational model craft and drones that weigh over 0.55 pounds. It also includes some adjustments on flying drones’ rules with less than 0.55 pounds over people and at night. The current law for small drones prohibits drone operators from flying over people and at night without an FAA waiver. With the new rules, in some situations, the drone flyer may not need a release.
The new rules originated from the many privacy, security, and safety concerns raised by the FAA people. After carefully reviewing all complaints, this is their solution to address those many issues. Aside from this, another goal of these new rules is to encourage advanced technology and improve the use of drones or UAS.
What is a remote ID, and how does it work?
The remote ID will serve as the Digital Drone Identity acting as a license plate for all drones. The craft will transmit information using radio frequency that can be picked up locally by a simple app from a standard device (like our mobile phones). Broadcasting is possible with or without the internet since it will be using WI-FI or Bluetooth. And, specific drone information will be transmitted, such as the flight session or the drone’s serial number, the latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, take-off time, and location. Remote ID will be broadcasting throughout the flight. Drones sending data over the internet? The network-based remote ID is not implemented at this time yet.
If you are concerned about broadcasting your location and some people will know your site, may try to do something terrible to you – well, according to FAA, remote ID controlled drones will not be transmitting data in real-time. Upon take-off of the drone, the operator may change his location. But it is unlikely to happen.
Who will be affected?
All types of drones over 0.55 pounds will be affected. There can only be a little adjustment for new model drones like the DJI, just a firmware upgrade. But Mavic Pro, Mavic Platinum, and Mavic Air may not be functional by the time remote ID is fully operational, considering drones last for less than or three years. If it still functions, then it still needs to comply with the new rule.
This new rule may become a problem for toy drone manufacturers. Because of this new rule, they either comply with all their drone models or choose to shut down their businesses.
Is it final?
UAV pilots have three options on how to comply :
Pre-installed remote ID: Manufacturers will also start to abide by the standards within 18 months and develop some ideas about making compliant drones available.
FAA retrofit module: FAA offers retrofit modules that you can buy and put in your drone. The price is about 50$. The FAA provides modules that recreational flyers can use for all of their aircraft, same with how their registration works. But for Part 107 flyers, they need to register for each drone and provide one module for each of their drones.
Flying over FAA-recognized locations: Those who will not comply can still fly their drones but only over certain FAA-recognized zones.
Another implementation included in this rule is the particular specification for drones flying under Part 107. They may be able to fly over people under certain safety conditions. Smaller drones will be able to fly more and heavier drones built with blades may not be allowed. Recreational flyers may still fly their drones during the night.
For now, the FAA has given all drone manufacturers 18 months to comply with the new standards. Pilots can still fly compliant drones in 30 months. There’s even a lot of time to enjoy the same way you usually had.