The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation last month announced the creation of a task force to come up with recommendations on how the agency should go about implementing a registration process for drone owners. In an impressively quick turnaround, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force presented its findings to the FAA on Saturday which was subsequently published today.
In it, the task force recommends creating a mandatory government registry for drones weighing 250 grams or more (about nine ounces or roughly half a pound). The task force – comprised of 25 representatives from various manufacturers, retailers and industry stakeholders including Amazon, Google and GoPro – reached the weight requirement after considering safety studies and risk probability calculations.
As per the report, owners of such drones would need to submit their name and address to the FAA via the Internet or a mobile app. The FAA, in turn, would provide drone owners with an individualized registration sticker that must be affixed to their aircraft. The task force recommends the registration process be free of charge.
Dave Vos, who co-chaired the committee and leads Google’s drone program, Project Wing, said that in general, everyone was really quite happy with what they managed to accomplish. Earl Lawrence, the FAA's drone integration office director and fellow co-chair of the task force, said nobody gets exactly what they want but everyone got most of what they want.
The FAA and the DOT are expected to finalize registration rules before Christmas. Why then? Because there will be a lot more drones in the sky by December 25 as the Consumer Technology Association forecasts roughly 400,000 drones will be sold in the US this holiday season.