Right now, there’s a lot of buzz in the drone industry about the FAA’s proposed rule for remote identification (Remote ID) of UAS, or drones. Some in the UAS industry are excited — this is finally a first step toward standardized BVLOS operations and better enforcement of airspace regulations. Others aren’t so sure: some of the provisions of the proposed rule might seem confusing, unnecessary, or even bad for business.

That’s why Skyward is hosting a webinar, to discuss Remote ID and answer important questions from companies and commercial drone operators. We’ll be featuring a panel of UAS policy experts as they break down the rule and give their analysis. We’re excited to share about how this will affect the industry and everyday drone flights.

Note: The recording and slides from this webinar are now available here.

As a preview of the topics we’ll be discussing, here are a few quick facts.

#1: Since this is just a proposed rule, provisions could change.

Currently, the FAA has only released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), not a hard-and-fast rule. It is open for public comment, so anyone can provide feedback to the FAA on the proposed rule. In fact, Skyward has analyzed the entire proposal and will provide an in-depth response to the FAA. This rule will affect the entire drone industry, so we encourage everyone to do the same!

Will any of the provisions of the proposed rule change before its publication? It’s difficult to say at this point. In the webinar, we’ll be primarily looking at the proposed rule as it currently stands. But bring your questions about potential changes, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

#2: The FAA designates three levels of Remote ID

The FAA realized that there isn’t a “one size fits all” drone identification solution. That’s why they created three different types of Remote ID for different purposes.

David Lincoln, one of Skyward’s aviation regulatory experts and a webinar panelist, recently wrote about the three types of Remote ID. The categories are separated by the drone’s method of sending location and identification information.

  • Standard Remote ID drone: sends information via unlicensed spectrum and an internet connection
  • Limited Remote ID drone: sends information only over the internet
  • Drone without Remote ID: does not send information

Each level has different operating limitations and will be useful for different purposes. We’ll be sure to cover each type in the webinar.

#3: The provisions of the rule will roll out gradually

The Remote ID rule is just a proposed rule — it hasn’t been implemented yet. In fact, there’s a good chance it won’t be implemented this year. We’ll cover the rule’s timeline in more depth during the webinar, but here’s a peak at what it looks like.

  • Dec. 26, 2019: Remote ID NPRM published
  • March 2, 2020: Public comment period closes
  • Future date TBD: Final rule published

After the final rule is published, its provisions will roll out gradually. Here is the proposed rollout timeline.

  • Publication date + 60 days: Rule takes effect
  • Effective date + 24 months: All new UAS must have Remote ID
  • Effective date + 36 months: All operators must use Remote ID

As you can see, it will be a while before these regulations go into effect. You should have plenty of time to look into solutions for your drone fleet before you’re required to comply with the new rules.

#4: Remote ID should open up BVLOS flights

One of the biggest reasons we’re looking forward to Remote ID here at Skyward is that it should enable flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). While there is no provision in the proposed rule setting specific standards for long-distance flights, one of the rule’s stated goals is to lay groundwork for regular BVLOS flights.

We’re excited to see what drones can do when enabled to make long-distance flights. BVLOS operations will open up a whole new world of possibilities as diverse as package delivery, infrastructure inspections, emergency operations, disaster recovery, and news gathering. And with a cellular connected drone, the possibilities are even greater.

Got more questions about Remote ID?

Watch a recording of the webinar, read the transcript, and download the slides.