In 2017, news surfaced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had taken the first steps toward establishing drone identification rules, which would require a drone to remotely identify itself to law enforcement. The remote ID system could help identify drones operated in restricted airspace, such as drones over airports, but multiple reports have indicated there could be a significant delay.
In November, the Wall Street Journal reported the FAA was ‘significantly behind’ schedule on establishing drone identification rules, something necessary for the large scale commercial use of drones. As well, law enforcement and government officials have increasingly expressed concerns over illegal drone operation and their inability to rapidly identify these UAVs.
In its most recent update, the WSJ has revealed a Federal Register notice from December that details pilot projects aimed at speeding up remote ID system testing. According to the report, the FAA wants to create up to eight prototype projects financed by private companies in order to test different identification options.
These prototype projects would be used both to gather real-world data and verify that the remote identification technologies work while speeding up the overall time it will take the FAA to establish the new rules. Neither timelines nor project costs have been revealed at this time, but assuming that a rule proposal in made in the next few months, final regulations may be established in the next year or two.