Unpacking Remote ID

For anyone interested in drones or flying them, understanding the basics of Remote ID is useful because it impacts the way drones are operated and being integrated into our skies. With the FAA just releasing their final rule on Remote ID, our very own Joe Polastre spent part of his end-of-year vacation reading through the FAA’s 470 page document to better understand the rule and help us identify the main take-aways.

Joe represents Airbus UTM, and alongside a handful of other companies selected by the FAA, he helps them develop technology requirements for future Remote ID Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Service Suppliers (in other words, he knows what he’s talking about!).

Remote ID 101

In a nutshell, Remote ID enables law enforcement, national security, and the public to identify UAS for safety, security and compliance reasons. Remote ID refers to the ability of a UAS to provide information on its identity and location to other parties. The new FAA rule requires drones to do this through “broadcast”, or sending a periodic wireless message with the drone’s digital license plate (Joe’s post linked below gives great insight into how it works).

Remote ID makes UAS pilots identifiable, and therefore accountable, in the event that the UAS is not cooperative or a “bad actor”. The Remote ID rule is just an initial step in safely integrating drones to unlock more complex commercial drone flights. At the end of last year, the US Congress also tasked the FAA to provide their plans on how they will address safety concerns for drones flying beyond an operator’s line of sight (referred to as BVLOS - Beyond Visual Line of Sight) by this spring.

We look forward to Joe’s breakdown of the FAA’s stance on BVLOS drone operations, and in the meantime, please check out his decoding of the FAA’s Remote Identification rule.

- Paige Wilson