In an article published by DJI today, the manufacturer’s VP of Policy and Legal Affairs, Brendan Schulman, has come out strongly against the FAA’s NPRM on Remote ID, calling it “deeply flawed” and “a complex, expensive, and intrusive system that would make it harder to use drones in America.”
From an article in DroneLife by Malek Murison.
That description is particularly significant given that Schulman and DJI have long advocated for a Remote ID solution and consistently backed measures to increase safety and accountability in the drone community.
So how, in Schulman’s opinion, has the FAA got the NPRM so wrong?
The first point is that the FAA’s proposal will require the vast majority of drones to be connected through the internet to one of the FAA’s chosen ‘Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers’.
It’s anticipated that pilots will be charged mandatory subscription fees to access this service, and in turn charged to access the skies. According to the NPRM, Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers will also store flight records for at least six months.
“This proposed requirement creates undue financial and compliance burdens and would impede America’s existing drone industry,” writes Schulman.
And then there are the technical barriers to compliance. Schulman points out that “thousands of drones and radio-controlled aircraft currently on the market have no means for internet connection and would be grounded.”
As a result of the new technical specifications required to adhere to Remote ID, many manufacturers would face increased equipment costs, while DIY drone kits used to develop technical skills or allow for customization would essentially be outlawed.
“Casual drone users would have to establish, maintain, and renew subscriptions just to fly occasionally in their backyards. School programs that use drones may decide the costs are just too high to continue. A gift of a drone on Christmas would saddle your recipient with endless monthly fees. And connecting all drones to the internet would create new cybersecurity vulnerabilities.”
Schulman makes the comparison between the FAA’s recent mandate for equipment to prevent collisions between passenger planes. As a result of that ruling, Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology is now required by aircraft flying in controlled airspace.
As such the rule is limited to fraction of the country and requires a one-time installation of equipment, which the FAA offered pilots a rebate for.
Yet for small modern drones, which Schulman rightly pints out “are responsible for zero reported fatal accidents worldwide, the FAA proposes the most burdensome solution conceivable”.
Lastly, Schulman writes that “the FAA’s proposal creates unacceptable points of failure. If the Remote ID service providers have technical difficulties, a substantial portion of the civilian drone fleet could be unintentionally grounded without warning.”
For the complete article click here.
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