Soon, the FAA will force U.S drone owners to register their UAVs after quite a few incidents around airports this year.
The Department of Transportation took the first step on October 19 by announcing the formation of a task force to create a registration process.
Small drones weighing less than 55 pounds have been an increasing safety concern for years. According to the FAA pilots reported unsafe activity by UAVs about 100 times a month, in 2015 alone. Last August, two airliners flying over the New York City area each reported passing within 100 feet of drones.
“We require car registration to ensure safety and accountability, and we should do the same for drones,” said Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts in a statement.
Drones that fly too close to aircraft can easily be sucked into a jet engine, or crash a cockpit window.
But the safety hazards are not only found near airports.
Five drones prevented California firefighters from dispatching helicopters for up to 20 minutes over a wildfire that roared onto a Los Angeles-area freeway in July this year. The Choppers could not drop water because the five drones hovered over the blaze.
The task force will be made up of 25 to 30 diverse representatives of drone manufacturers, manned aviation industries, the federal government, and other stakeholders,” said the DOT.
The task force has a good deal of work before them as quite a few questions remain unanswered. It is still unclear which drones will need to be registered and which will be classed as toys. Unanswered is how the registration will be enforced, too.