Drone Registration: One Small Step for Unmanned, One Giant Leap for an Industry

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter at @jwce21

The recent drone registration announcement by the Department of Transportation is a major milestone and an undeniable sign of a rapidly maturing industry. Skyward welcomes the development of a drone registration requirement. We agree that the ultimate goal is safe and integrated access to the sky, because that is critical to the growth of drone-based services.

The announcement confirms the need for a system of record that identifies who is flying, what they are flying, and where they are flying. These are key components of Skyward’s solution today, and we look forward to continuing our work with industry and government stakeholders.

As an industry, we have an opportunity to build a new system for today’s technology, not simply apply existing processes. We can look to IoT, Internet, or telecommunications standards as other systems for registration, identification and management of technology.

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Our software gives commercial operators today the tools to meet existing requirements, including the current N-number drone registration for operators with a Section 333 exemption. We will continue to design and implement systems that integrate with today’s aviation infrastructure and serve the needs of this new generation of aviators operating drones.

Drone registration will be a core component for safe integration into the national airspace. However, registration is just one part of a larger system, which also needs to address identification of drones and operators in-flight, airspace notifications and mapping, flight management, and policies to protect privacy.

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Aviation is built on a foundation of safety. Integration of drones into our current system requires the same standard of safety we all trust when we walk down the jetway. Skyward has worked with today’s aviation requirements for years, both as professional pilots, and with drones – securing S333 exemptions, registering for N-numbers for our drones, and adhering to COA requirements every day. We know that this system needs to be adapted to scale for the millions of drones coming in the next few years.

Through Skyward’s work with the NASA UTM program, as well as our participation in ASTM F38, and RTCA, we have already been working on the systems needed for a managed aerial robotics network. Registration is a core component and we’re building the foundations required to support the aerial robotics network of the future.

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Skyward CEO Jonathan Evans speaking at the 2015 NASA UTM Convention

As a professional pilot of 18 years, I am thrilled to see drones take the next step toward joining the national airspace. We’ll continue to update our customers, followers, and industry partners as the registration requirements develop. To meet requirements today and in the future, join Skyward to navigate the new rules of the sky and manage your drone business.