Unmanned aerial systems (commonly known as drones) are becoming more and more common in our skies. As drones become both cheaper to buy and easier to fly, their usage is expanding exponentially. Along with this proliferation come worries about drones interfering – either unintentionally or intentionally – with other airspace users, or the ground beneath.
Regulators are scrambling to catch up. In December 2020, the U.S. and E.U., who have been setting the pace for drone regulations, both came out with new rules regarding the identification of drones. All new drones will be required to have a digital license plate (or identification number). Collectively, these new regulations are known as “Remote ID.”
Moving forward, most drones will need to continuously transmit its “license plate,” which, in turn, links the drone to an owner/operator, transmits its position (longitude, latitude, and altitude), and other operational data, including the position of its controller/pilot.
Remote ID is a significant step forward to creating safe skies. Up until now, a drone that wandered into restricted airspace would be unidentifiable, making it very hard to evaluate the threat level or identify the pilot.
What’s New in the E.U.?
As a member of the ASD-STAN working group responsible for formulating the technical standard, Dedrone was instrumental in testing and demonstrating Remote ID technology in the European Union.
The European Commission has adopted a broad set of regulations that came into force on Dec. 31, 2020. From now on, pilots will need a certificate of proficiency to control their drones, which are classified into certain operating categories (open, specific, certified) according to their weight and place of action. Crucially, all consumer drones heavier than 250 grams, which typically fall into the open category classes 1-3 must be equipped with Remote ID.
U.S. Issues Final Rules
In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has adopted broadly similar rules. Drones greater than 0.55 lbs (~250 grams) must be equipped with Remote ID, or an attached module must transmit equivalent information.
Without Remote ID, a drone may only fly in areas designated by the FAA. Only drones equipped with Remote ID will be allowed to fly over people or at night. Furthermore, drone pilots must have their remote pilot certificate with them when operating a drone.
More Detailed Drone Detection With Remote ID
Remote ID enables more detailed drone identification and diagnostics. Dedrone is the first to offer security providers a smart airspace security platform that seamlessly integrates Remote ID. Dedrone users can observe both authorized drone flights in their area from Remote ID and detect unauthorized or malicious drone flights, which may threaten their operations.
To achieve this complete airspace situational awareness, Dedrone relies on its cutting-edge software system, which recognizes all types of drones, can distinguish between different drone types and models, and is continuously updated. Known as DroneDNA, Dedrone’s library of drone data contains the signatures of all drones available on the market and automatically cross-references drone data from Remote ID systems.
With the introduction of Remote ID, security teams will have even more detailed information. Data such as the drone's serial number, as well as the registration number and location of the pilot, add to Dedrone's comprehensive DroneDNA database, helping companies and law enforcement agencies target illegal flights.
The information can be integrated into the Dedrone system so that known friendly drones can be flown without triggering an alert (whitelisting) while the additional information from Remote ID enables the user to better assess the threat of posed by an unknown drone.
Remote ID Does Not Replace Drone Detection
The introduction of Remote ID is a milestone on the way to safe integration into the airspace, but it does not replace drone detection systems. Arguably, drone detection systems have become even more critical.
First, many drones pre-date the regulations, and pilots will continue using these Remote ID-lacking drones. In the E.U., self-made drones are not legally required to transmit Remote ID, but in the U.S., Remote ID will be required for any drone (manufactured or home-built) that requires registration and is operating in the National Airspace System (NAS).
Second, many drone operators will neglect to register their drones, and some small proportion will deliberately evade, mislead, or obfuscate the regulation requirements.
Dedrone’s airspace security platform and Remote ID go hand-in-hand to provide complete airspace situational awareness. Dedrone detects drones with and without Remote ID and ensures that security providers have a future-proofed approach to airspace security, knowing that any drone, whether it is registered and compliant or unregistered and malicious, will not disrupt their operations.
More from Thomas Markert
Dedrone Blog: The Building Blocks of Drone Detection: DroneDNA
UAV DACH: Remote ID: For a Safer Airspace
Join Thomas, the European Committee for Standardization and ASD-STAN on February 9, 2021 for their European Workshop on UAS Direct Remote Identification.