Drone registration to be mandatory in the US

Washington, Oct 20 (IANS) The US government will now require the registration of almost all unmanned aircraft systems or drones in a bid to track operators who violate safety rules, authorities said.

The US Department of Transportation announced on Monday that a task force of 25 to 30 representatives from the drone and manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders will be created to develop recommendations for the drone registration process before November 20, reported Xinhua.

The group will advise the department on which aircraft should be exempted from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small drones. The task force will also explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial drone operators.

“If unmanned aircraft operators break the rules, there should be consequences. But there can be no accountability if a person breaking the rules can’t be identified,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters. “Registration will allow us to identify them.”

He noted that registration will reinforce the need for drone users, including consumers and hobbyists, to operate their drones safely.

According to the department, there are reports of potentially unsafe drone operations every day, ranging from incidents at major sporting events and flights near manned aircraft, to interference with wildfire operations. One of the troubling trends is that pilot sightings of drones doubled between 2014 and 2015.

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