Distant identification of unmanned programs: Op-Ed

Following the release of the definitive remote identification rule for drones last week, the industry has taken a stand both for and against the concept of remote detection as well as the actual rule. DRONELIFE is honored to release this joint from two of the leading voices in the industry: AUVSI President and CEO Brian Wynne and Kevin Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International, North America (ACI-NA).

The following is a guest post. DRONELIFE does not accept or pay guest posts.

Flying with a safety net

By Brian Wynne and Kevin Burke

Santa Claus recently shipped thousands of drones in the United States. And while many aviation enthusiasts enjoy flying in the sky, we must continue to ensure the safety of our national airspace.

For this reason, we welcome the release of the final remote identification (ID) rule for unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAS), also known as drones, by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week. Remote ID is the technology, and now the federal regulation, that the drone industry, airport operators, security experts, and the flying public have all been calling for in recent years. Your arrival is a milestone in the integration of the UAS into national airspace.

Remote ID can be viewed as a digital license plate for drones. This technology and the creation of rules enable public safety officers to understand who is operating drones and where. This awareness is critical to maintaining airspace security, an issue that recently hit the news due to drone break-ins at baseball games, over correctional facilities, and especially near airports.

In fact, ensuring airspace security is so important to both manned and unmanned aviation that our two organizations, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), launched in 2019 A Blue Ribbon Task Force has been jointly formed to formally address this challenge, with a particular focus on airport drone containment.

Our task force brought together a cross-section of stakeholders representing the airport, the UAS and manned aviation communities to refine procedural practices and provide a policy framework to address the timely and critical issue of unauthorized UAS interference in airports and how this is done threat can best be mitigated. In preparing its two reports, the task force consulted with dozens of industry stakeholders, including airports, UAS manufacturers, airlines, pilot groups, US and Canadian government officials, the military, commercial companies, aerospace players and academia.

One of the most important recommendations of the task force in its final report on reducing UAS at airports was the requirement of remote ID for unmanned systems in controlled airspace. Remote ID has been identified as the most important element in the next evolution of drone integration and, if necessary, as mitigation.

Accordingly, AUVSI and ACI-NA applaud the FAA for implementing this final rule and ticking off an important step in ensuring the safety of our national airspace. The rule gives law enforcement agencies the tools they need to respond to careless, unsuspecting, and criminal UAS operations in and around airports and other critical infrastructure facilities. And that’s something we can all feel very good about.

Wynne is President and CEO of AUVSI and Burke is President and CEO of ACI-NA.

Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has written over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing on the drone industry, email Miriam.

TWITTER: @spaldingbarker

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