Drones could get standardized rating system

The system would make it easier to understand a drone's capabilities

Drone safety experts are considering a rating system for drones that would show what a particular craft could do and where it would be appropriate to fly it.

"It's sort of an Underwriters Lab for drones," said Parimal Kopardekar, head of NASA's NextGen Airspace Project, referring to the old safety testing organization now known as UL.

Kopardekar said the program would primarily focus on drones weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms) and involve a series of tests.

They might include various twists and turns, flying in a narrow alley, staying aloft in wind, rain or fog, and how a drone responds when its GPS signal is lost.

151117 parimal kopardekar Martyn Williams

Parimal Kopardekar,Principal Investigator of the NASA's NextGen Airspace Project, speaks at the Drone World Expo in San Jose, California, on Nov. 17, 2015.

"You'd get a performance rating for a particular vehicle, so you'd know based on that where is the right place to operate it," he said at the Drone World Expo in San Jose on Tuesday.

The goal would be an easy to understand rating that can be used by consumers, commercial operators, insurance agents and regulators to quickly gauge the capabilities of a drone.

"Right now, that kind of guidance is missing," he said.

It's not clear which organizations might be working with NASA on the program; the agency is cooperating with a large number of public and private partners on drone safety.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?