Drone owners will need to register with US government

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By Larry Banks

This week, the US Department of Transportation announced that drone owners will need to register their devices with the government, part of a new national registry.

The registry is being setup after some recent close encounters between drones and aircraft at airports, and as firefighters say they’ve been hampered due to drones being in the way. It’s expected that in the run-up to the holiday season, hundreds of thousands of drone aircraft will be sold.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the US aviation system”, said Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground”.

Foxx also said at a news conference that the US will create a “national registry of folks who are owners of drones and users of drones”.

Just a couple of weeks ago the Air Line Pilots Association said that the registration of drones will help the authorities in tracking down pilots that do not adhere to the regulations. And Rep. Peter DeFazio told a House panel recently that flight regulators ought to consider registration because “there should be a way to track these things back to irresponsible owners”.

The US government has also announced a task force to determine which drones should be exempt from the new rules due to low safety risk – that’s expected to include those classed as toys. The recommendations will be delivered by November 20th according to Foxx.

The task force itself will be made up of 30 people from the government, and the drone industry, amongst others. Foxx stated that he expects a “streamlined registration process” in place by the middle part of December.

Furthermore, the US government is shortly to lay out rules that allow the commercial use of drones throughout the country, with about 200 clearances to fly already granted.

SOURCE: Ars Technica.

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