In a step to regulate the usage of personal drones, it has been reported that the US Federal Government will announce plans to implement mandatory drone registration with the US Department of Transportation. Included in this are plans to work with drone manufacturers to ease implementation of registration and a plan to have a drone registry in place by December, with the obvious intention of requiring the registration on the many drones received as gifts this Christmas. This announcement comes hot on the heels of the introduction of the Safe Drone Act, which less than two weeks prior made it a misdemeanor to fly drones within a restricted area, punishable by fine or up to a year imprisonment.
So what constitutes a restricted area? The current bill for the Safe Drone Act lists three types of restricted area to which it applies:
- Within 2 miles of an airport
- Within 2 miles of the perimeter of ongoing firefighting operations
- Within an area of temporarily flight restricted airspace
It would appear then, that US government has determined how to handle infractions by this emerging type of recreational aircraft which previously left them stumped. Their makeshift solution of offering monetary rewards to those willing to identify aerial miscreants left much to be desired. Now, with a combination of rules on drone use and the ability to more easily track and identify the owner of a drone in the case of an infraction, it seems that inappropriate and dangerous drone use will have far more accountability and in future incidents like those that hampered firefighting efforts back in August will be a thing of the past. And in the bigger picture, could this be the first step towards commercial regulations on drones, finally allowing services such as Amazon Prime Air finally get off the ground?