Raleigh company to help in US drone registration process

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — A Raleigh-based company is helping the federal government set the guidelines for drone registration.

PrecisionHawk, a drone manufacturer, is one of the members on the task force charged with setting up the process for users to register their drones. On Monday, the Department of Transportation announced a plan that will require most operators to register their machines.

Concerns about rising reports of close calls and safety risks involving drones led the government to create requirements to have unmanned aircrafts be registered. Drone sightings have doubled since last year, including near sporting events and manned airplanes, according to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“These reports signal a troubling trend,” said Federal Aviation Administration chief Michel Huerta. “Registration will increase pressure on drone operators to fly responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.”

Along with PrecisionHawk, the task force will include government and industry officials, pilots and hobbyists. One of their goals will be to recommend which drones should be required to register.

“There are potentially 3-quarter of a million drones that are going to be sold over the Christmas season this year,” said PrecisionHawk VP of Strategy Thomas Haun. “Making sure they’re identified and the user of that drone is linked to that drone is really important.”

Transportation officials say it’s hard to identify drones that are spotted operating illegally near planes and airports or over crowds. In these situations, registration would allow the FAA to identify drones when they can recover after landing or crashing.

“Not only should you know what you need to do while you’re operating your UAV, but you will soon need to know what to do in advance of operating your UAV so you can be identified,” said Haun.

The task force will determine several factors, including how much registration will cost and whether you need to do it online or in-person. The task force’s report is due by November 20th and Foxx says he plans to have registration requirements in place by mid-December.

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