As rumored last week, the U.S. government has just announced a program that will require drones to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
At a press conference today in Washington D.C., Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the plan. The department will be creating a task force comprising public and private industry leaders to devise exactly how the registration system will work.
Secretary Foxx noted that the agency will be acting fast to develop and implement the registration plan. Specifically, the DOT hopes the task force will have recommendations in place by the middle of November, with a registration being implemented before the end of December.
Foxx said that registration will reinforce the need for hobbyists and drone operators to learn the airspace rules before they fly, and use their devices safely. Secondly, he noted that registration will allow these rules to be enforced, and let the FAA identify any operator who breaks these rules.
The agency said that while it is currently easy to locate the actual drone that may have violated illegal airspace, it’s difficult to find the operator of the offending drone, and this registration will close that loophole.
This announcement comes after a sharp rise in “near misses” between aircrafts and drones throughout the U.S. over the last year. Most of these incidents are happening near major airports, even though most major drone manufacturers, including DJI, have now programmed their devices to not be able to take off when near a U.S. or International airport.
Foxx and Huerta explained that the centralized database will be implemented before Christmas, which is a surprisingly fast turnaround considering how long the FAA has taken to implement concrete rules for drone use.