When remote identification policies and procedures are eventually lifted within the drone industry, how will it play out? Smooth sailing? Too tough to comply? Right now, the Remote ID outlook is mixed, with levels of optimism vs. pessimism pretty evenly split among drone pilots.
Aloft (the company formerly known as Kittyhawk) conducted a survey of its users in July 2021, which generated more than 200 responses. And one of the key questions asked drone pilots about their opinion on future implementation of remote identification for UASs, and how easily they felt it would be to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote ID rule when it goes into effect in 2023.
48% said they felt it would be either somewhat to very difficult to comply, while 51% said they felt it would be neutral to very easy to comply.
That said, a more confident 64% of respondents answered they were neutral to strongly agreed that they feel safe sharing their controller and aircraft information with the FAA in compliance with the final Remote ID rule, suggesting that concerns around Remote ID don’t have as much to do with privacy and data-sharing concerns as much as ease of use and how smooth the implementation and rollout would be.
What is Remote ID?
The FAA’s Remote ID rule becomes effective in 2023. The new remote identification final rule requires that drones can be identified in flight, and that the location of their control stations or takeoff point can also be identified. It applies to all operators of drones that require FAA registration, meaning that if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and less than 55 lbs. (25 kg), you still have to register your drone (as per usual), but you’ll also need to comply with the Remote ID rules.
There are three ways you’ll be able to comply with the Remote ID rule:
- Operate a standard Remote ID drone that broadcasts identification and location information of the drone and control station.
- Operate a drone with a Remote ID broadcast module (may be a separate device attached to the drone), which broadcasts identification, location, and take-off information.
- Operate a drone without Remote ID but at specific FAA-recognized identification areas.
It’ll have to broadcast a “message” of sorts, stating your drone’s ID (that’s the serial number of the drone or its session ID); latitude/longitude; altitude, and velocity of the drone; latitude/longitude and altitude of the control station; emergency status; and time mark. In most cases, your drone will broadcast its remote ID messages directly via a radio frequency broadcast — such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology — and that broadcast will need to be compatible with existing personal wireless devices.
As far as your data privacy goes, anyone with a personal wireless device within range of your broadcast will have access to some (but not all) information. Your drone’s serial number and session ID will remain private between just you and the FAA — though rules specifically state that such information can be made available to authorized law enforcement and national security personnel upon request.
The Remote ID outlook survey results are especially relevant for Aloft, which is the creator of the now-patented Dynamic Airspace platform and which played an interesting role in remote identification of drones.
“As we edge closer to the Remote ID rule’s effective date in 2023, we hope operators will gain further clarity on how UTM solutions like our Air Control platform can streamline airspace awareness and provide the necessary tools for Remote ID compliance for all operators in enterprise drone programs,” according to a statement from Aloft.