The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced the eight companies that will assist the Federal government in establishing requirements for future suppliers of Remote Identification (Remote ID). Remote ID will enable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly called drones, to provide identification and location information while operating in the nation’s airspace.
Update from the FAA today:
Thanks for the questions we received after yesterday’s press release on the Remote ID Cohort. To clarify, the Cohort is not part of the decision-making process for the proposed Remote ID rule final rule. The Cohort will help the FAA develop technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID. The comment period on the Remote ID Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closed on March 2, 2020, and the FAA is reviewing the more than 53,000 comments.
Remote ID tech partners announced
The FAA selected the following companies to develop technology requirements for future Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers (USS):
- One Sky
These companies were selected through a Request for Information process in December 2018.
“The FAA will be able to advance the safe integration of drones into our nation’s airspace from these technology companies’ knowledge and expertise on remote identification,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
This initial group will support the FAA in developing technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID. The applications will provide drone identification and location information to safety and security authorities while in flight.
The technology is being developed simultaneously with the proposed Remote ID rule. Application requirements will be announced when the final rule is published. The FAA will then begin accepting applications for entities to become Remote ID suppliers. The FAA will provide updates when other entities can apply to become qualified Remote ID USS on FAA.gov.
Drones are a fast-growing segment of the transportation sector with nearly 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots now registered with the FAA. The agency’s ability to develop Remote ID technology simultaneously with the rule enables the FAA to continue to build on a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system that has demonstrated global leadership through the small UAS rule and the implementation of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which automates the application and approval process for most UAS operators to obtain airspace authorizations.
“DJI wants governments to require Remote ID for drones, but the FAA has proposed a complex, expensive and intrusive system that would make it harder to use drones in America, and that jeopardizes the success of the Remote ID initiative,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI’s vice president of policy and legal affairs. “Instead, we support a simpler, easier, and free version of Remote ID that doesn’t need a cellular connection or a service subscription.”
Well, the fact that companies like T-Mobile have been selected does not bode well. As you might remember from my time with DroneDJ, I have been in favor of Remote ID for Drones, but against the requirement that drones need to be connected in real-time to the Internet.
Furthermore, it may surprise you that companies like DJI are not part of this select group of companies. It might have something to do with the fact that DJI is a Chinese drone maker. Autel Robotics isn’t on the list either. Nor is Parrot. Although I do not know if either company had responded to the Request for Information from the FAA. It would have been a very good surprise to Skydio on this list, but alas.
The part that worries me most is the fact that there is not a single consumer or prosumer drone maker on the list. As we have said before, the hobbyist and commercial drone pilots are NOT represented in any meaningful way when it comes to developing the Remote ID for Drones regulation. And that is not ok.
What do you think Remote ID for Drones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.