FAA is establishing Remote ID technical standards before reviewing public comments

FAA Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2020
Contact: pressoffice@faa.gov WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced the eight companies that will assist the Federal government in establishing requirements for future suppliers of Remote Identification (Remote ID). Remote ID will enable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly called drones, to provide identification and location information while operating in the nation’s airspace.

The FAA selected the following companies to develop technology requirements for future Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers (USS): Airbus, AirMap, Amazon, Intel, One Sky, Skyward, T-Mobile, and Wing. These companies were selected through a Request for Information process in December 2018.

“The FAA will be able to advance the safe integration of drones into our nation’s airspace from these technology companies’ knowledge and expertise on remote identification,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

This initial group will support the FAA in developing technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID. The applications will provide drone identification and location information to safety and security authorities while in flight.

The technology is being developed simultaneously with the proposed Remote ID rule. Application requirements will be announced when the final rule is published. The FAA will then begin accepting applications for entities to become Remote ID suppliers. The FAA will provide updates when other entities can apply to become qualified Remote ID USS on FAA.gov.

Drones are a fast-growing segment of the transportation sector with nearly 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots now registered with the FAA. The agency’s ability to develop Remote ID technology simultaneously with the rule enables the FAA to continue to build on a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system that has demonstrated global leadership through the small UAS rule and the implementation of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which automates the application and approval process for most UAS operators to obtain airspace authorizations.

The FAA bungled this press release. The Remote ID Cohort group was something in the works long ago. The FAA, though, issued this press release without clearly explaining that the review of pubic comments is ongoing and that the public will not be ignored. Many of us (just look at social media) saw this press release and read it as saying that public input in the NPRM on Remote ID was being ignored. The FAA really bungled this.

I’ve emailed an inquiry to the FAA to see if they can elaborate on what this is about and what is happening in regards to the public comments. Why does the comment evaluation period need to be done in total secrecy – no information on how it is performed, how many comments have been processed, or any time frame information.

Update: May 8 – FAA has issued a 2nd press release on this

Thanks for the questions we received after yesterday’s press release on the Remote ID Cohort. To clarify, the Cohort is  not part of the decision-making process for the  proposed Remote ID rule final rule. The Cohort will help the FAA develop technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID.  The comment period on the  Remote ID Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  closed on March 2, 2020, and the FAA is reviewing the more than 53,000 comments