Drone Registration Is Easy

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter at @jwce21

At Skyward, we applaud the Department of Transportation’s task force for their quick response in providing recommendations for drone registration. Registration is key to the accountability needed for safe integration of drones in our aviation system. The task force recommendations state that registration will be required for drones weighing over 9 ounces.

Now that we have identified the what – it’s time to focus on the how.

Skyward Joins Conversation

Over the past two weeks, Skyward served as a technical advisor to members on the appointed federal task force, and was interviewed as a subject matter expert by the FAA directly. We’ve shared our vision of how this new era of aviation could be managed and provided a 7 page technical recommendation and standards guideline to the registration task force, citing best practices from cyber security and internet protocol.

Less Like the DMV – More Like Email

Skyward believes the registration experience should be less like the DMV, with one centralized system of record, and more like signing up for an email address, with multiple access points and providers, who all follow common, interoperable standards. We should look to social sign-on capabilities like Google and Facebook to authenticate who you are without the burden of creating new online identities. Users should be able to choose from multiple outlets to register their drone, including through the manufacturer and at point of sale, service providers (like Skyward), associations like the AMA or AUVSI, educational sites like Know Before You Fly, or on the FAA site itself. This approach makes it easy for users to register by allowing multiple industry and public entities to serve as registration entry points for the public drone registry.

Goals for the New System

  1. Interoperable – While not all drones will be Internet enabled, we propose a focus on an Internet-­of-­Things (IoT) approach that capitalizes on the existing technical standards for registration developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
  2. Distributed – We should seek a common system with multiple access points, so that consumers can choose the most convenient method to register.
  3. Standards-Based – Registration should be designed as part of a larger system that adheres to a set of technical standards and is amenable to automation. We look at efforts like NASA’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) program as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s STIX and TAXII standards as examples of how standards programs can be managed.

 

It is also important to recognize that registration is just one part of a larger system which must address:


  • identification of drones and operators in-flight
  • airspace notifications and mapping
  • flight management
  • policies to protect privacy

It’s All Within Reach

At Skyward, we’re providing drone operators the tools they need to responsibly access the sky today. We incorporate registration for commercial operators, and our cloud-based software integrates a drone airspace map with flight planning tools and a digital system of record for managing the business. Our team of regulatory and operational experts supports a new generation of drone aviator in the United States and all over the world, and gives them the tools they need to access the sky.

The policy recommendations of the task force can be implemented with technology, and will mark an important step in the safe integration of these aerial robots with our trusted aviation system. This is a historic opportunity to align policy with technology. We should seize it.