While both the FAA and EASA continue to develop their respective Remote ID and U-space proposals, it seems likely that many drones in current use might need additional tech.
Under the FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the draft Remote ID regulation, flying a drone is not as simple as buying it and launching into the air. This draft rule will require the drone to be configured with a special software and hardware before it will be compliant to fly.
Additionally, the U-space proposal includes a tracking service which when receiving data from more than one tracking source, would result in more reliable flight data.
The Remote ID system from FAA – Quick Facts
- To ensure the safety of US airspace the FAA recently proposed new rules that would require drones to be remotely identifiable in the United States.
- Remote ID technology will help identify unmanned aircraft operating in the airspace. A comprehensive remote ID system could enable every drone inflight to transmit or broadcast a unique identifier that can be tracked in a shared database in near real-time.
- Remote ID efforts will help lay the foundation for complex commercial drone operations, such as flying beyond visual line of sight, over people, or at night. The rules would facilitate the collection and storage of certain UAS data, such as a drone’s identity, location, altitude, and control station.
- There are two kinds of remote identification mechanisms referenced in the NPRM, Network and Broadcast.
- Broadcast Remote ID is based on the transmission of radio signals directly from an airborne UAS to ground receivers in the UAS’s vicinity. Broadcast Remote ID requires equipment to continuously transmit Remote ID data using one of the transmit protocols for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It’s possible that additional transmit protocols may be added in the future as warranted by available technology.
- Network Remote ID is based on communication via the internet from a Remote ID service provider that interfaces with the UAS, or with other sources in the case of Non-Equipped Network Participants. Basically, the drone is communicating with something that provides remote identification information to the internet.
- Recently the FAA announced eight companies that will help develop the technical standards for the system that allows all drones to broadcast basic information for tracking. As it stands, it appears that this would be over cellular networks, and T-Mobile is one of the companies that will help develop the standards. Verizon is also involved, through its subsidiary Skyward. The other companies working on the program are Amazon, Airbus, AirMap, Intel, OneSky, and Wing (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet).
- Manufacturers and operators would have two years to implement the technology on their products. And older drones without the tech would have to be phased out within three years. Otherwise, they could only operate in FAA-designated zones similar to those where hobbyists fly model airplanes.
U-space & the European Drone Rules – Quick Facts
- In June 2019 common European rules on drones, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 & Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, have been published to ensure drone operations across Europe are safe and secure. And in April 2020 EASA has published the first view worldwide on the use and control of drones in an urban environment, where the term “U-space” has been adopted.
- U-space is used to describe the management of unmanned aircraft traffic, to ensure the safe interaction with other entities using the same space in any location, not just urban areas.
- A regulatory framework aims to enable the safe and harmonized use of U-space services across Europe. Member states are responsible for defining their own UAS geographic zones in the airspace where U-space services will be offered. However, a pan-European regulatory framework can enable a common approach by having the same rules and procedures for all drone operators across the EU.
- U-space services can help process UAS flight authorizations and provide operators with the tools and information they need to plan safe flights, prevent collisions with other aircraft, and remain compliant with the environmental, security, and privacy requirements set by each member state.
- As proposed by EASA, commercial drone operators will be required to access four services through a U-space service provider:
- Flight authorization: USSPs can pre-tactically manage the traffic flow and deconflict flights before they take place.
- Geo-awareness: Each member state can establish different geographical zones to indicate where drone operators can fly and under which conditions.
- Network identification: This service enables the traceability of unmanned aircraft during flight through both network and broadcast information.
- Traffic information: This service alerts drone operators when other aircraft are in close proximity to their vehicle or their intended route.
- The U-space proposal includes other services drone operators can access through U-space service providers:
- Tracking service: used to track both real-time and historical UAS telemetry data. By receiving data from more than one tracking source, this service can provide more reliable unmanned flight data.
- Weather information
- Conformance monitoring: flight path monitoring compared to the planned mission, as defined during flight authorization.
- The final U-space regulations are expected to be adopted by the European Commission in Q4 2020 and will evolve with the growing density and complexity of unmanned traffic.
In both FAA and EASA cases, we’re here to support those making the skies safer with the smallest, lightest and most aerodynamic real-time tracker available. At only 26g, Trax G+ is the lightest device on the market to combine a precise, real-time GPS tracker with a small form factor, minimizing impact on aerodynamics and drone battery life.
Trax can be quickly and easily integrated into UTM platforms using the available API, or data can be sent directly to a customer’s server.