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FAA: Drone Operators Will Need to Provide Location

Requirement for most operators will go into effect in 2023
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2020 11:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Your drone will soon need a license plate of sorts. The FAA issued new rules for unmanned aerial vehicles on Monday, and for the first time, specially trained operators will be allowed to fly small drones at night, so long as they're equipped with anti-collision lights that can be seen for 3 miles, reports TechCrunch. Small drones can also fly over people without a waiver—a change to the previous rule which restricted drones to flying only over those directly involved in the flight, under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle, per Reuters. This new rule, however, comes with a catch. Unless the operator plans to fly it "at specific FAA-recognized identification areas," any drone weighing 0.55 pounds or more must include Remote ID, which serves as a digital license plate, broadcasting identification, location, and take-off data, TechCrunch reports.

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Remote ID is also required for smaller drones during flights over open-air assemblies. The operator's location would be broadcast, along with that of the drone, per the Verge: "This way, law enforcement can theoretically figure out who's flying any given drone dangerously." Manufacturers have 18 months to include the technology in every new drone, while operators have until 2023 to add the technology to any existing drone. "The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns" and "get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages," says FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, per Reuters. No drone is allowed to operate with "exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin." The rules are to enter the Federal Register in January and take effect 60 days thereafter. (Read more drones stories.)

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