The FAA has announced that the first meeting of the UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) “advanced key policies of concern to the FAA, industry and law enforcement.”
The ARC was formed to bring stakeholders together to address the issue of remote drone ID and tracking. Potentially, ID and tracking solutions could assist air traffic control in monitoring drone flight near airports; it might also mean that drone operators perceived as violating airspace rules could face more frequent prosecution.
Industry stakeholders have varying opinions on the issue. While some groups welcome a technology solution that could speed drone integration, others fear that manufacturers may have financial motives for recommending a technology solution. And with details unclear, some drone operators are concerned about being required to purchase expensive equipment or having data about themselves and their flights made public.
“Whether you are a commercial operator, a hobbyist, or a racer, your interests will be directly impacted by the work of this committee,” says an announcement about the ARC from the Drone User Group Network, a grass-roots organization of over 20,000 recreational and commercial drone pilots. “You could be required to purchase an expensive transponder. You could be tracked. Your information could be made public. We want to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”
With over 70 members, the FAA has attempted to include as many stakeholders as possible in the process. In addition to major manufacturers, retailers and advocacy groups, the ARC includes airport representative, law enforcement, hobby groups, and researchers.
“During this initial meeting, the ARC considered issues such as existing regulations applicable to drone identification and tracking, air traffic management for drones, concerns and authorities of local law enforcement, and potential legal considerations,” says the FAA. “The group developed some preliminary questions and identification parameters, and reviewed a sample of existing identification technologies.”
“The ARC will continue to meet as necessary to develop solutions that function at federal, state, and local levels.”