Remote ID and UTM: Just the Facts

FAA’s Jay Merkle clears the air around Remote ID misconceptions.

A drone at sunset

By Jay Merkle, Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office

If you have a drone or are in the drone business, you may be wondering how the FAA’s Remote ID rule will affect the development of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) system, especially as it relates to the decision to adopt broadcast versus network requirements. I have answers and insights I hope will frame the big picture on where we’re headed.

Drone operators may be concerned that Remote ID will make their private information public. I want to address that right up front — Remote ID does not make an operator’s personal information, such as name and address, available to the general public. Instead, it serves as an “electronic license plate” that enables appropriate authorities to connect a drone to its operator. Just like the license plate on your car, others may be aware of the tag number under which a drone is operating, but the operator’s personal information such as name and address will not be broadcast.

The FAA will be the repository of an operator’s personal information. We will only share it with appropriate authorities should there be a need to locate the operator, such as if it is discovered that the drone is being operated in an unsafe manner.

The decision to use broadcast ID versus network requirements led to some people incorrectly assuming that perhaps the FAA is abandoning UTM. I want to assure the drone community that we are committed to the development and deployment of UTM to support the needs of low altitude drone operations. UTM services will be foundational for the industry’s ability to scale and make many drone operations economically viable. We continue to refine UTM concepts and expect to publish an updated concept paper and a broader implementation plan early next year.

Network Remote ID has a role to play in these UTM development endeavors, and the FAA is committed to working with the drone community to continue to explore how network information sharing can support safe integration activities. Though not required by regulation, operators can share information using a network connection today, and we encourage this. Robust information sharing today may provide operational insight that may be leveraged in the future.

As sure as there are already drones in the sky, we all have a role to play in the future of UTM. The FAA plans to get there safely with you. We’re excited about what the future holds and grateful to be on this revolutionary journey with an innovative, engaged and safety-minded drone community.

Cleared for Takeoff

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