According to a ruling formulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2015, it was made mandatory for the hobbyist drone owners to get their aircrafts registered online. The ruling was abrogated in 2016 when John Taylor filed a writ petition in a court against it.
The said ruling has now been reversed by a judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit; thereby allowing the FAA to set up and impose whatever rules it considers necessary for hobby drones.
The FAA’s ruling on registration of drones was revalidated by Congress via the National Defense Authorization Act even before this ruling was passed. So, it is compulsory for drone owners to get their machines registered with the authority if they weigh between 0.55lbs and 55lbs.
Now, the FAA has been given free-hand in formulating rules and regulations for hobbyist drones.
What makes the tech giants ecstatic?
The new ruling has made the tech giants really optimistic since this is what they have been vying for, for the past several years.
Google along with CNN and Ford are members of the Commercial Drone Alliance. This is an organization that has been calling out for stringent rules in association with hobbyist drones.
Amazon, despite not being a member of the organization, has also voiced its concerns regarding imposition of tougher rules on hobby drones.
All these firms are planning to utilize drones in their upcoming ventures in a larger scheme of things.
Google has been working on Project Wing which involves delivery of packages using drones. Amazon has also been going down this route as they are also planning to start delivering packages to their customers using drones.
But hobbyist drones are the lonely big hurdle that seems to be obstructing their progress.
Amazon would love to send a package to your home using a drone but they want to be certain at the same time that there are not tons of drones in your neighborhood; lest it all ends up in a crash.
Pandemonium is how these tech giants define the hobbyist drone industry. They are keeping their fingers crossed that the Federal Aviation Administration will take some measures to bring order and hence pave the path for their commercial drone operations.
New rules: required or not?
Drone owners seem to be divided on this discussion.
Some of them are furious that the hobbyist drone owners will be troubled greatly by the new regulations. But at the same time, there is an overwhelming majority of drone owners who comprehend the fact that there are some complacent drone owners who need to be controlled vide stricter rules.
Nevertheless, whether you root for them or not, newer rules are ready to be imposed. An increase in accidents related to drones along with lobbying from tech giants have ensured that they come into practice sooner rather than later.
So, what are these new rules really?
It is already compulsory that you get your hobbyist drone registered with FAA. What else are they planning to do?
Identifier beacon is something that FAA plans to enforce on all hobbyist drones. This will allow real time recognition of drones especially if they infringing on the premises of sensitive government installations such as airports.
Law enforcement agencies are also vying to get authorization for knocking down drones that are flying too close to prohibited locations.
At the same time, there is an advantage associated with these rules.
The US Government is actively strategizing with companies and local authorities to explore new uses of drones.
So, there is a probability that these rules will be coupled with certain liberties. There might come a time soon when FAA allows drones to be flown over crowds or during the night without seeking permission.
The big question that comes to one’s mind is the extent of liberties that will be extended to commercial drones in contrast to hobbyist drones.