Wing proposal FAA remote ID proposal

Google-sibling company Wing recommends changes to FAA remote ID proposal

A lot of people don’t like the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposal for Remote ID. DJI doesn’t like it. The AMA doesn’t like it. More than 10,000 other vocal members of the general public don’t like it.

And now Wing, the drone subsidiary of X, the company formerly known as Google, has their own recommendations for how to change it.

Wing put out a post on blogging site Medium saying that it supports the ASTM International standard for Remote ID, and that it has proposed changes for the FAA remote ID proposal.

“While Wing agrees with the objectives of the FAA’s NPRM, the proposed rule poses some challenges as drafted. The ASTM standard can help to address some of these challenges, and Wing looks forward to providing detailed public comments to the FAA as part of the rulemaking process,” Wing’s post stated.

ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a wide range of materials, including drones. And ASTM International has developed standards related to Remote ID.

“Wing is very much in agreement with the intent of the NPRM, and we think it’s a vital step forward for the drone industry,” Wing’s Lia Reich said to The Drone Girl. “However…we think that the draft text, as written, could have an unintended negative impact on hobbyists and privacy.  We strongly believe that the ASTM standard is a better model to follow because it supports a diverse range of drones, and strikes a better balance between transparency and privacy.”

In fact, Wing successfully demonstrated how Remote ID for drones can work using ASTM’s Standards in a demonstration done by Wing, Verizon-owned Skyward, GE-owned AiRXOS, Uber and CNN.

FAA remote ID proposal
A delivery drone from Wing, the drone delivery spinoff of the company formerly known as Google.

There are a number of reasons why people don’t like the FAA Remote ID proposal, but one of the biggest ones is the fact that pilots would have to fly with some sort of network connection, even in remote/rural areas where connections are limited.

In contrast, the ASTM standard, which was created after two years of collaboration between regulators and industry, outlines two methods of compliance:

1) drones must broadcast information locally with onboard equipment

2) drones must share information widely via a network of UAS Service Suppliers

The ASTM Standards also have a number of technical mitigations to protect the privacy of drone customers and operators that the FAA’s Remote ID proposal does not. And, it allows operators to identify themselves without additional equipment or infrastructure (many fear the additional FAA requirements will be too cost prohibitive — especially for hobbyists or small businesses).

Wing also said that it supports many drone community-based organizations (ie. the AMA).

“Wing believes that community based organizations should be permitted to establish and renew exempt flying sites beyond twelve months,” Wing’s statement said.

Separately, a coalition helmed by the AMA requested that the FAA’s rule should provide community-based organizations like AMA more flexibility to establish and maintain fixed flying sites that satisfy remote ID compliance

If you’d prefer something more like the ASTM Standards (or something completely different) than the FAA’s proposal, you can make your voice heard by leaving a public comment. You have until Monday, March 2 to leave your opinion. To leave a formal comment with the FAA, go to Federal Register’s page on ‘Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ and click the green button in the top right that says ‘Submit a Formal Comment.’

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