The usage of commercial and recreational drones has expanded rapidly in recent years, to the point where aviation authorities can no longer ignore the effect on national airspace systems and the need to provide systematic ways of ensuring safe flight and operator accountability.
The solution for the industry’s growing pains is Remote ID – a form of “wireless license plate” technology that provides identification and location information that can be received by other parties, including air traffic control and public safety officials. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has officially laid down a set of regulations for Remote ID that drone operators must ensure they comply with by September 16 2023, and drone manufacturers by December 16 2022.
FAA Regulations for Remote ID
The section of the FAA regulations covering the new rules for Remote ID is known as Part 89, and contains relevant information for both drone operators and manufacturers.
Crucially for UAS manufacturers, all new drones manufactured for use in the United States after December 16, 2022 must have built-in Remote ID capability. Manufacturers must also submit a Means of Compliance (MoC) to the FAA that thoroughly documents how their UAS design meets all the requirements of the Part 89 regulations, as well as details of the testing and validation procedures. This document must be signed off by the FAA in order for manufacturing to continue.
Manufacturers must also produce a second document known as a Declaration of Compliance (DoC). The contents of this include:
- Make and model of the UAS or module
- Serial number, which must comply with the ANSI/CTA-2063-A Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Serial Numbers standard
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification for any components of the UAS that transmit on the radio-frequency spectrum
- The aforementioned MoC document
- A declaration that compliance with Part 89 can be demonstrated
- A declaration that any FCC-compliant equipment has been integrated into the system without modification
Operators of all drones deemed necessary for registration by the FAA must also ensure compliance with Remote ID regulations. Registration is mandatory for almost all drones, excepting those that meet both of the following criteria:
- A weight of 0.55 pounds (250 grams) or less
- Operation exclusively under the FAA’s Exception for Recreational Flyers
- Compliance with Remote ID can be met by UAS pilots in one of three ways
Remote ID Modules
While manufacturers must start producing drones with built-in Remote ID, this does not necessarily mean that operators must abandon their old equipment and pay out for a new drone or entire fleet. Older UAS models can be made compliant by retrofitting them with a Remote ID add-on module.
Remote ID add-on modules must be purchased from an FAA-approved manufacturer, who must go through a process similar to that followed by UAS manufacturers, including the creation of MoCs and DoCs as detailed above.
It is worth noting that operators who retrofit their drones with add-on modules are limited to VLOS (visual line of sight) operations only. Any person or organization wishing to carry out BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations must purchase new drones with built in Remote ID capabilities.
Standard Remote ID
Standard Remote ID is the FAA terminology for drones with built-in Remote ID capabilities. The information broadcast by Standard Remote ID drones is similar to that required for Remote ID modules, with a few small differences – for more information see this page on the FAA’s website.
FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIAs)
The third option for drone operators, which requires no Remote ID capability at all, is to fly exclusively within FAA-recognized identification areas (FRIAs). In order to obtain authorization to set up an FRIA, an entity must be a community-based organization or an educational institution. Eligible entities must also submit a comprehensive application to the FAA that details the site’s intended purpose and explains why the site is necessary for that purpose.
Operations within an FRIA are limited to VLOS only.
Combined Remote ID compliance and cellular connectivity
As detailed above, drone operators looking to fly BVLOS missions must use newly-manufactured FAA-approved aircraft with built-in Remote ID capabilities. Manufacturers looking to capitalize on the BVLOS market are likely to require not only Remote ID, but also a robust communications platform that will allow them to meet the myriad of other safety and reliability requirements and get their platform certified.
Elsight’s Halo provides a solution to both these problems in one. The drone-agnostic platform features advanced cellular bonding capabilities that provides crucial bandwidth aggregation and redundancy for BVLOS applications. At the same time, it also provides built-in Remote ID capabilities that are compliant with FAA as well as EASA regulations.
To see a detailed breakdown of how Halo complies with Remote ID requirements according to the ASTM F3411 standard, click here.
The deadlines for Remote ID compliance for both pilots and manufacturers are here. If you are looking to develop a new UAS that can serve the emerging BVLOS market and provide assured Remote ID compliance, please get in touch to see how Halo could suit your design.
Remote ID – a form of wireless identification for drones that will provide critical information to the authorities and other relevant parties that can be used to identify aircraft and their operations
BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line of Sight, referring to drone flights carried out at distances where the aircraft can no longer be seen with the naked eye
ASTM International – an international standards organization that creates technical standards for a wide variety of products and processes used in science, engineering, manufacturing and more
ASTM F3411 – the ASTM International-published standard upon which the FAA’s Remote ID requirements have been based
- https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/remote_id – the FAA’s hub for Remote ID information
- https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/2021-08/RemoteID_Final_Rule.pdf – the full text of the FAA’s final ruling on Remote ID
- https://www.astm.org/f3411-22a.html – how to acquire the ASTM standard on drone Remote ID