More than 181,000 drones in the US have been registered for flight with the Federal Aviation Administration.
FAA administrator Michael Huerta revealed the numbers during a recent speaking engagement at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Huerta told a panel that they're encouraged by the registration numbers they've seen thus far, adding that he is confident that by working together with their partners in safety, they will succeed.
The FAA launched its registry on December 21, 2015. Pilots of consumer drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds that made their purchase before December 21 have until February 19, 2016, to register their aircraft. Anyone that bought a drone after December 21 is required to register it before its first outdoor flight. Failure to register can result in stiff penalties.
The FAA has since released an iOS app called B4UFLY that informs pilots if operation in a specific area is prohibited. A version of the app for Android is currently being tested, we're told.
The Consumer Technology Association estimates that around 400,000 drones were sold in the US during the holiday shopping season. Sales of drones weighing at least 0.55 pounds are forecasted to exceed one million this year.
It's worth mentioning that the current registration program only applies to consumer drones. The FAA is said to be working on a separate registry for commercial drones that's expected to open by mid-year.