“It is a great statement that all of the members on this task force have really rolled up their sleeves and were willing to work very, very hard hard to find the right compromise,” said Dave Vos, who co-chaired the committee and leads Google’s drone program, Project Wing. “Nobody gets exactly what they want, but everyone got most of what they want.”
The group recommended a free registration process for drones weighing over 250 grams (0.55 pounds). Drone owners would only be required to submit their name and physical street address to a national registry held by the FAA. Drones would have a registration number so that law enforcement that captured a drone would be better able to track down the owner in an investigation. This registration process also provides another chance to educate users about how to fly safely.
“We tried to write the recommendations in generic as possible a flavor that enabled the future growth to happen, considering that it’s unknown today what future technology might bring along,” Vos said.
The diverse task force included government officials, drone makers, manned aviation experts, tech companies and retailers.
Their report is only a recommendation, so it’s unclear how much the final registration rules will mirror it. The FAA and Department of Transportation say they are using these recommendations and 4,500 public comments to draft a proposed registration rule. Both agencies are reviewing a draft rule and deciding how to move forward next.
“There’s not a finalized decision on what’s next,” said Earl Lawrence, who co-chaired the task force and leads the FAA’s office to integrate drones.
Plans to require recreational drone registration emerged just over a month ago, with the goal of finalizing such a system ahead of the holidays as drones are expected to be a popular gift.