FAA panel still hasn't decided how to regulate drones

The task force faces a Nov. 20 deadline for its proposal

A key task force convened to work out registration rules for consumer drones ended a three-day meeting on Thursday with apparently no final conclusion.

While it spent the day discussing how the registration program would work, the task force is yet to decide what types of drones would be covered by a registration program and what types would not.

That's hugely important, as drones are expected to be hot holiday gifts this year, so the scope of the registration program could affect tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

On Thursday, the group focused on reaching consensus on a recommended process for registration, the FAA said. "The discussions included how an operator might prove a [drone] is registered, how the aircraft would be marked, and how to use the registration process to encourage or require [drone] operators to become educated on basic safety rules."

The FAA didn't say if a conclusion was reached on those issues, but whatever happened at the meeting, the task force still faces a Nov. 20 deadline to deliver its proposal.

The tight schedule matches the speed at which the task force was convened. The FAA only announced its wish for drone registration on Oct. 19, and the members were announced on Oct. 29.

The group brings together 25 companies and organizations that are working in the drone industry with government agencies. Co-chair is Dave Vos, who heads Google's Wing delivery drone project, and it also includes representatives from Amazon and Wal-Mart, both of which are researching delivery drones.

Other members include drone makers such as DJI, GoPro, PrecisionHawk and 3D Robotics, retailer Best Buy, several industry associations, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents the model aircraft community.

The FAA has already received hundreds of responses from the public concerning the proposal to require registration of drones. Many have come from model aircraft flyers who assert that new rules will place an unfair burden on hobbyists, the vast majority of whom already follow rules and best practices established by the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Hobbyists also worry that drone registration will stifle creativity, perhaps requiring a new registration each time a drone is modified or if one is built from scratch. If some form of registration is required, it might be better centered around the operator rather than his or her drones, some contend.

The FAA is moving fast because drones are expected to be a popular gift item this year-end holiday season. Hundreds of thousands could take to the skies over the holidays, quickly outnumbering conventional aircraft but piloted by people with little or no aviation knowledge or experience.

The number of near-miss incidents with aircraft is on the rise, and the FAA is keen to bring some accountability to the new hobby.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags drones

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

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?