The US Department of Transportation held a press conference today announcing the first ever federal drone registry, requiring both professional pilots and hobbists alike to register their drones.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx explained that a task force will be put together to come up with recommendations for the drone registry, which is intended to crack down on the illegal use of drones, namely over airports and other controlled airspace where drone pilots have interfered with operations or put others in danger. According to Secretary Foxx, this new registry will help educate drone users on the rules and regulations of operation, as well as give whichever government agency who will enforce them a way to hold pilots accountable.
You can check out the DoT press conference below:
The FAA has been actively trying to curtail the illegal use of drones, especially in the past year or so, creating a No Drone Zone campaign, as well as an app (currently in beta testing) that tells drone users if there are any restrictions or regulations where they want to fly. They released their proposal for drone regulations back in February, and much to the surprise of drone enthusiasts and professionals, they were considerably pretty lax. However, having to register your drone and will certainly put pressure on users to know and understand the rules of operation to avoid suffering the consequences. Secretary Foxx says:
Registration will help us enforce the rules against those who operate unsafely, by allowing the FAA to identify the operators of unmanned aircraft. We can take enforcement action as necessary to enforce the airspace.
Not much is known about what the rules will include, or who or what they will apply to. (Will you be fined for flying a drone in your backyard?) According to Secretary Foxx, the task force's recommendations will be due by November 20th of this year in order to have the registry in place before Christmas. Until then, you might want to check Know Before You Fly, an educational campaign founded by the a ton of agencies, including The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems and the FAA.