The FAA has released the final rule for Remote ID for Drones, along with a rule on operations over people and moving vehicles, and night operations. This long-awaited publication clarifies the detailed requirements of Remote ID. This will enable stakeholders from the drone industry to prepare for implementation.
Remote ID for Drones: No Network-Based Remote ID Requirement
The remote ID (called RID) will allow authorized people to identify any drone in the airspace and connect them with a pilot. According to the FAA announcement:
“The Remote ID rule applies to all operators of drones that require FAA registration. There are three ways to comply with the operational requirements:
- Operate a standard Remote ID drone that broadcasts identification and location information of the drone and control station;
- Operate a drone with a Remote ID broadcast module (may be a separate device attached to the drone), which broadcasts identification, location, and take-off information; or
- Operate a drone without Remote ID but at specific FAA-recognized identification areas.”
However, the FAA decided to removed the requirement for an network-based Remote ID, which was listed in former, non-final versions of the rule:
“In response to the NPRM, the FAA received significant feedback about the network requirement identifying both public opposition to, and technical challenges with, implementing the network requirements,” says the text of the final rule. “The FAA had not foreseen or accounted for many of these challenges when it proposed using the network solution and USS framework. After careful consideration of these challenges, informed by public comment, the FAA decided to eliminate the requirement in this rulemaking to transmit remote identification messages through an Internet connection to a Remote ID USS.”
Operations Over People and Night Operations
In addition, the FAA published rules for Ops over people, moving vehicles and night operations. The Ops Over People Rule breaks eligible aircraft into 4 categories, as quoted below:
“Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, and Category 4 Eligibility for operations over people
The final rule establishes four new categories of small unmanned aircraft for routine operations over people: Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, and Category 4. The final rule also allows for routine operations over moving vehicles.
- Category 1 eligible small unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 0.55, including everything on board or otherwise attached, and contain no exposed rotating parts that would lacerate human skin. No FAA-accepted Means of Compliance (MOC) or Declaration of Compliance (DOC) required.
- Category 2 eligible small unmanned aircraft must not cause injury to a human being that is equivalent to or greater than the severity of injury caused by a transfer of 11 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object, does not contain any exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin upon impact with a human being, and does not contain any safety defects. Requires FAA-accepted means of compliance and FAA-accepted declaration of compliance.
- Category 3 eligible small unmanned aircraft must not cause injury to a human being that is equivalent to or greater than the severity of injury caused by a transfer of 25 foot-pounds of kinetic energy upon impact from a rigid object, does not contain any exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin upon impact with a human being, and does not contain any safety defects. Requires FAA-accepted means of compliance and FAA-accepted declaration of compliance.
- Category 4 eligible small unmanned aircraft must have an airworthiness certificate issued under Part 21 of FAA regulations. Must be operated in accordance with the operating limitations specified in the approved Flight Manual or as otherwise specified by the Administrator. The operating limitations must not prohibit operations over human beings. Must have maintenance, preventive maintenance, alterations, or inspections performed in accordance with specific requirements in the final rule.
Timeline for Implemenation
Drone manufacturers and pilots have some time to get ready: the new rules will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Drone manufacturers will then have 18 months to produce drones equipped with Remote ID technology, operators will have 1 year after that to start using drones with Remote ID.