Largest Drone Manufacturer Will Implement Remote Identification

November 14, 2019

Responding to concerns raised by EPIC and others, the largest manufacturer of civilian drones in the world plans to implement a remote identification technique that would allow anyone with a smartphone to identify and track drones near them. According to DJI, "the location, altitude, speed and direction of the drone, as well as an identification number for the drone and the location of the pilot" would be available via a mobile phone app. In several comments to the FAA, EPIC urged the agency to require manufacturers to implement an active drone ID broadcasting requirement. This past summer the European Union established a requirement for real-time drone identification that aligns with EPIC's 2015 recommendations to the FAA, which stated that drone identification should be "similar to the Automated Identification System for commercial vessels." EPIC also wrote that "Because drones present substantial privacy and safety risks, EPIC recommends that any drone operating in the national airspace system include a mandatory GPS tracking feature that would always broadcast the location of a drone when aloft (latitude, longitude, and altitude), course, speed over ground, as well as owner identifying information and contact information." Speaking at the 2016 privacy commissioners conference in Marrakech, EPIC President Marc Rotenberg warned of the "identification asymmetry" that would arise if drones were not required to broadcast identifying information.

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