After months of uncertainty, both the company and hobbyists finally obtained a series of drone guidelines from the Federal Aviation Administration. The final rules are a step back from certain proposed restrictions, as they will allow flying over crowds and certain night operations. However, all drones weighing more than 0.25 kg (0.55 lbs) need to have a unique long-range ID and small drones that fly in the crowd.
A proposal that did not make a final decision would require remote IDs to connect to the location tracking database via the Internet so that the FAA (and law enforcement agencies) can monitor drone operations in real time. FAA believes that the remote ID that can transmit drones and “control station”
US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a press release: “These final rules provide opportunities for innovation and utilization of drone technology while addressing safety, security and privacy issues.”
All drones that exceed the half-pound weight limit must have a remote ID. Obviously, there are many amateurs who lack the remote ID function. In order to solve this problem, the FAA stated that this drone should be attached with a “remote ID broadcast module” that can broadcast relevant information. The only alternative is to fly the drone only in a specific “FAA recognized recognition area”.
FAA has created four categories [PDF] Drone. Category 1 applies to drones below the weight limit not covered by this rule. Category 2 and Category 3 are essentially defined by the degree of damage they may cause in a crash, while Category 4 is for drones that require airworthiness certificates. Unmanned aircraft of category 1-3 are allowed to operate above people, but they cannot continuously fly on vehicles in flight.
UAVs operating under dark cover will require navigation lights that are visible from three miles away. Those who wish to fly at night will need to pass an exam first.
Both UPS and Amazon have received federal approval for limited delivery of drones, and the new rules are seen as beneficial to them and other companies that want to commercialize drones.
The new regulations will take effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. After the drone manufacturer releases, there will be an 18-month window in which to start building drones with remote IDs. One year after the window is closed, all drone operators will need to fly drones that broadcast their remote ID.