The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced yesterday new rules for drones, representing the next step on the path to commercial deliveries.
The new FAA regulations allow operators to fly designated drones, or unmanned aircraft (UA), without obtaining waiver from the FAA. Part 107 of the federal aviation regulations currently prohibits covered drone operations over people and at night unless the operator obtains a waiver.
As well, the new rules will require Remote Identification (Remote ID) of drones in flight as well as the location of their control stations. This information — essentially a digital license plate — is to be used by law enforcement and national security agencies to reduce the risk of drone interference with other aircraft and people and property on the ground.
“The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson in a statement. “They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”
The rules won’t take effect immediately. Drone manufacturers will have 18 months to begin producing drones with Remote ID, with operators allowed an additional year to start using drones with Remote ID.
According to the FAA, drones represent the fastest-growing segment in the transportation sector — with currently over 1.7 million drone registrations and 203,000 FAA-certificated remote pilots.