US forms taskforce for unmanned drone registration

The group of more than two dozen stakeholders will deliver recommendations for exemptions and streamlining measures by 20 November.

A newly-created US taskforce is expected to deliver recommendations on unmanned drone registration by 20 November. The group will comprise between 20 and 30 stakeholders in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) field, including industry and federal government representatives, according to a press release from the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Authority. It comes as one drone company representative told Agri Investor the current regulatory environment makes it difficult for agri professionals to make the most of new UAS technology.

The group will work to identify options to streamline the registration system, recommend exemptions for certain aircraft that represent a low safety risk, and seek out additional safety measures for drone use.

“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,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.  “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

The announcement comes as US regulators work to balance fears of safety issues emanating from increased drone use and industry hopes for potential commercial benefits in agriculture, mining and other sectors. Complaints of disruptive UAS activity near sporting events, manned flights and wildfire operations have been on the rise in the past year, according to the release.