The FAA has introduced the concept of Remote Identification (Remote ID) for drones to address safety and security concerns. Remote ID is a system that allows the FAA and other authorized agencies to identify and track drones in real time. This information can include the drone’s location, altitude, registration details, the identity of its operator, time, and emergency status.
What Is Remote ID & Why Do Drones Need Them?
Remote ID (Identification) refers to the capability of a drone to broadcast its identity, location, and other information to authorized parties, such as law enforcement, security organizations, and other drones in the vicinity.
The need for remote ID stems from the rapid growth of the drone industry and the increasing number of drones being used for various purposes, such as commercial delivery, agriculture, search and rescue, and more. As drones are becoming more prevalent in everyday life, there is a growing concern about their potential to pose a threat to public safety and national security, especially in densely populated areas.
With remote ID, authorities and other interested parties can track and identify drones in real-time and contact their operators should they fly into a no-fly zone or if the drone is operating erratically and dangerously.
This will help law enforcement agencies to monitor and manage drone activities, ensure their safe operation, and minimize the risk of collisions and other incidents. Additionally, remote ID helps to enforce regulations and enhance accountability for drone operators, which is critical for the responsible and sustainable development of the drone industry.
When Will Remote ID Laws Be Implemented?
The FAA is rolling out Remote ID in two phases. The first phase, which began in late 2022, required all drone manufacturers to equip their UAVs with Remote ID technology. The second phase, scheduled for September 2023, will require all drone pilots to ensure that their drones meet the Remote ID requirements.
How To Make Your Drone Remote ID Compliant
The FAA has approved three ways for drone pilots to be compliant with Remote ID laws:
- Operating a drone with an internal Remote ID module, as many drone manufacturers like DJI are installing Remote ID technology in their newer drone models or have updated the firmware on older models to meet remote ID requirements.
- Attaching an external Remote ID module onto the drone. As of writing this article, Dronetag is the only company that has developed external remote ID modules for drones that the FAA has approved. Check out their website.
- Operate drones in areas that do not need Remote ID, also known as FAA-recognized identification areas (FRIAs), where a drone can operate without a remote ID module.
Drone pilots must understand and comply with the Remote ID requirements to ensure drones’ safe and secure operation in the national airspace.
Exemptions For Remote ID Laws
Besides operating in FRIAs, remote ID laws are not applicable to drones weighing less than 250g and are solely used for recreational purposes. If the drone’s weight is less than 250g but it is used for commercial reasons, it will need to be registered, and a remote ID will be required for the drone.
Which Drones Have Remote ID?
For drones to comply with remote ID legislation, they must be approved by the FAA. The FAA has a dedicated page on its website that lists drones that have been approved for remote ID and is updated regularly. You can check the FAA-approved list here and see if your drone is listed.
Do DJI Drones Have Remote ID?
DJI are the most popular consumer drone brand, and obviously, people will want to know if their drones comply with remote ID laws.
According to DJI, they were the first drone manufacturer to gain FAA remote ID approval for many of their most popular drones.
They have stated that most of their newer drones will come with remote ID broadcasting technology. At the same time, their popular older models will get firmware updates that will ensure that the drone has remote ID broadcasting technology.
DJI drones with remote ID broadcasting technology are as follows:
As you can see from the list, popular DJI drones like the Mavic Mini, Mini SE and Mini 2 have yet to be approved. However, these drones weigh less than 250g and do not need remote ID if used for recreational applications.
Autel Drones With Remote ID
Autel is another popular drone brand, and currently, they only have three drones approved for remote ID.
- Autel Evo 2
- Autel Evo Lite
- Autel Evo Lite Plus
Parrot Drones With Remote ID
- Parrot Anafi USA
- Parrot Anafi Ai
External Remote ID Modules
- Dronetag Mini
- Dronetag Beacon
How Do You Add Remote ID Module To A Drone?
You have until September 2023 to comply with remote ID laws, so if the FAA has yet to approve your drone, it’s advisable to prepare your drone for remote ID by attaching an external remote ID module to it.
As I stated earlier in the article, only one company has currently developed a remote ID module that the FAA has approved.
Dronetag.cz is a Czech-based technology company that specializes in remote ID products for drones.
Two of their remote ID products have been approved by the FAA and are compliant with current EU drone laws, they are the Dronetag Mini and Dronetag Beacon; click here for more details about these products.
Are Drones With Remote ID Required In the UK?
There is no requirement for drones to have remote identification capabilities under UK law. However, drone laws are constantly in flux as technology advances, and regulations will need to be amended. It is advisable to regularly check the CAA website to be informed of any updates to the remote ID law and any other changes to the drone regulations that may affect your drone operations.
Concerns About Privacy
There are concerns about the constant monitoring of drone movements by the authorities and the potential for unauthorized access to remote ID data. This information could be used to track individuals and their movements, raising serious privacy concerns.
In addition, there are concerns about the security of the remote ID data itself. This information is transmitted wirelessly, which opens it up to the risk of hacking and unauthorized access. If the remote ID system is not designed with adequate security measures, it could become a target for malicious actors who might seek to compromise the privacy of drone operators or use the information for other malicious purposes.
It is essential to ensure that the remote ID system is designed with strong security measures, such as solid encryption and secure data storage, to address these privacy and security concerns. It is also important to ensure that solid privacy regulations protect the data collected through the remote ID system and that it is used only for the purposes for which it was collected.
In conclusion, integrating remote ID technology into drones has the potential to enhance their safety, security and responsible usage significantly. Remote ID enables drones to be easily identifiable and trackable, facilitating better regulation and management of the airspace, which can help mitigate risks and reduce instances of drone-related incidents. With the increasing popularity of drones, remote ID will play a crucial role in establishing a comprehensive and secure drone ecosystem that benefits both drone operators and communities.