November 25, 2015
The Consumer Technology Association estimates there will be 400,000 drones under the Christmas tree this year. Just in time, a task force created by the Federal Aviation Administration has come out with a report detailing recommendations on how to regulate them. The task force, comprised of drone makers, technology companies, an airline pilots association and the government, says drone owners need to be entered into a federal database and should display a government-issued registration number on their drone.
According to The New York Times, the task force report — which is likely to be approved in a few weeks — says that the rules will apply to drones weighing from half a pound to 55 pounds.
Among the recommendations, owners will register with their names and addresses, with email addresses and phone numbers optional. There is no requirement for drone owners to be citizens or permanent residents. Owners also do not have to submit any information about their drone.
Some advocate stricter rules, but the task force states that the goal was to “ensure accountability by creating a traceable link between aircraft and owner, and to encourage the maximum levels of regulatory compliance by making the registration process as simple as possible.” Task force members also emphasized that they made many compromises to arrive at the final report.
“We tried to write it in as generic a flavor as possible,” task force member Dave Vos, who heads the drone project at Google X, told NYT. He added that the task force reached a consensus and “is quite happy” with the results. The FAA, which pushed the task force to submit its report before the holidays, will now be open to comments before it considers its own recommendations for final rules.