Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS) or drones are fundamentally changing aviation. Unfortunately, the risk of unmanned aircraft being operated in unsafe proximity to people and property on the ground is also increasing.
With the exponential growth of drones and a large number of anticipated users, the government and public safety stakeholders should have the ability to remotely identify a UAS and make strategic decisions to ensure that only authenticated drones can operate in the given airspace.
That’s where remote identification or remote ID comes in. Remote identification provides a means to identify drones and locate the operators or pilots in command, allowing law enforcement and national security agencies to distinguish compliant airspace users from those potentially posing a safety or security risk.
What is remote ID?
Remote identification is a critical element to enable those operations that address safety, national security, and law enforcement concerns. Basically, remote identification can be described as an electronic identification or a “digital license plate” for drones. Commonly known as Remote ID, remote identification is the capability of a drone to provide its identification, location, and performance information that people on the ground and other airspace users can receive.
It refers to a range of remote access to information such as the model type, operator name and location, and registration number of certain nearby drones. Remote identification provides airspace awareness to national security agencies, law enforcement entities, and other government officials. The information can distinguish compliant drone users from those potentially posing a safety or security risk. Therefore, remote identification will become increasingly important as the number of unmanned aircraft operations increases in all classes of airspace.
The use of a remote identification system would safeguard drone user information and any sensitive information about the nature and goal of drone missions. Remote identification provides information that assists law enforcement and national security agencies in addressing current airspace safety and security challenges.
Benefits of remote ID
- Promote compliance by operators
- Provide airspace awareness to national security agencies, law enforcement entities, and other government officials
- Prevent airspace users from potentially posing a safety or security risk
- Reduce obsolescence of the existing unmanned aircraft fleet.
- Distinguish compliant airspace users from others.
- Help officials determine what type of actions is needed to mitigate safety or security risks.
Remote identification requirements
There are two ways to comply with the remote identification requirements.
The first way is to operate a standard remote identification that broadcasts the aircraft’s identification, location, and performance information and control station directly from the unmanned aircraft from takeoff to shutdown. The required message elements include a unique identifier to establish the identity of the unmanned aircraft; an indication of the longitude, latitude, geometric altitude, and velocity of the aircraft; an indication of the longitude, latitude, and geometric altitude of the control station; a time mark; and an emergency status indication.
The second option is to use an unmanned aircraft equipped with a remote identification broadcast module to comply. The broadcast module, which broadcasts identification, location, and takeoff information, could be a separate device or a feature built into an unmanned aircraft.
A number of governments are in the process of developing detailed plans for implementing regulations to require all drones to be equipped with Remote ID capabilities. In the long-term, Remote ID is likely to significantly reduce potentially dangerous drone incidents caused by “careless” or “clueless” operators who simply venture into restricted airspace by mistake.