How Can You Comply With Remote ID?
In FAA airspace, you’ll need to comply with Remote ID starting Sept. 16, 2023. So, what’s it about, and how do you comply?
I often receive questions from people new to the drone industry on my social media accounts. Typically, the questions focus on how to start a drone business, or which drone would best suit a particular type of work.
However, fairly recently, another question keeps popping up: What is Remote ID, and what do I need to comply with it?
Now, if you’re new to the industry, or if the year is flying by for you, you might not know that we’re less than six months away from Remote ID becoming mandatory in FAA airspace (as of the time of this writing).
The rule officially takes effect on September 16, 2023.
So, what is Remote ID? What brought it about? And, what do you need to do to comply with Remote ID?
Let’s dive in and address all of these.
Remember, Remote ID is not optional, so make sure you have a plan in place before September of this year.
What Is Remote ID?
Remote ID is essentially a method for tracking drones and their pilots.
To transmit the required data, a drone can either use on-board equipment, or use third-party solutions via a device attached to the drone.
The FAA requires that the information broadcasted includes the following.
- A unique identifier for the drone;
- The drone’s latitude, longitude, geometric altitude, and velocity;
- An indication of the latitude, longitude, and geometric altitude of the control station (standard) or take-off location (broadcast module);
- A time mark;
- Emergency status (Standard Remote ID Drone only)
So, why go to all this trouble? What is Remote ID intended to solved?
Well, in theory, if it becomes necessary to identify a particular drone program, select entities like law enforcement, the military, and government agencies can contact the FAA. From there, the FAA can then identify the pilot and the location.
The idea is to maintain the safety of national airspace and help prevent people from illegally operating a drone.
How Did We Get Here?
When the cost of drones started to come down about a decade ago, more and more people started flying them.
Soon, there were thousands of pilots – and even more drones – filling the skies. In those early days, flying a drone in the United States was like the wild west: very few rules, and even less enforcement.
However, while most people flew their UAVs for enjoyment or commercial uses responsibly, there were a few bad apples.
People started using drones to drop contraband into prisons, fly in restricted areas, and conduct similar operations. Often, when trying to find who the drone’s operator, law enforcement could not locate the pilot. Hence, they could take no action to prevent further incidents.
Currently, there are almost 900,000 drones registered in the United States. And, it’s a number growing by the day.
To get a handle on the situation, the FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which was published on December 31, 2019. After public comment and review, the rule became finalized and effective on April 21, 2021.
How Do You Comply with Remote ID?
There are three ways you can comply with Remote ID. The first two will be the solution most pilots use. While a small group will use the third option, most commercial drone work will need to adopt the first or second solution.
Option 1: Fly a drone that already has remote ID capabilities.
Although this first option is probably the easiest, it requires owning a newer drone. Since September of last year, manufacturers have been required to build remote ID capabilities into drones.
Due to supply chain constraints, the date moved a little, but most manufacturers were working on solutions with September 2022 in mind. If you purchase a new drone, especially one released this year, you’ll comply with the rule.
Note: Depending on the manufacturer, you may have an older drone that gets a software upgrade and complies. For example, one of the drones I fly is a DJI Mavic Air 2S. A firmware update in September will make the drone comply with remote ID. Check with your drone’s manufacturer to see if this is true for you.
Option 2: Add a broadcasting device to your drone.
This will be your only option if your drone is more than a couple of years old. That’s because manufacturers are unlikely to update drones older than two or three years.
Unfortunately, few solutions currently exist on the market, and those that are available can be expensive. Some even include subscription services and monthly fees.
Option 3: Operate without Remote ID in selected areas.
The FAA has established FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIAs) in a few specific locations. These areas are sponsored by community-based organizations or educational institutions. In these limited areas, there is no requirement for remote identification.
Regardless of your personal feelings about it, in just a few short months, those flying in FAA airspace must start broadcasting information in accordance with the law.
Since nearly everyone will fall under option one or two, take the time to determine your best options now, before the deadline approaches.
If nothing else, it might be an excuse to buy a new drone, which I think is something every pilot loves doing.
So, are you ready to take advantage of drones for your organization? If so, how do you get started? Do you hire out or bring your drone program in-house?
Or, do you just need help bringing your fleet into compliance with new regulations?
At Consortiq, we help you find a better way with drones, from consultation and program implementation to actually doing the work for you.
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