Date Released: October 13, 2021
UAS Remote Identification
Drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are fundamentally changing aviation, and the FAA is committed to working to fully integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS). Safety and security are top priorities for the FAA and remote identification (remote ID) of drones is crucial to our integration efforts.
What is Remote ID?
Remote ID is the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties.
Why Do We Need Remote ID?
Remote ID helps the FAA, law enforcement, and other federal agencies find the control station when a drone appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it is not allowed to fly. Remote ID also lays the foundation of the safety and security groundwork needed for more complex drone operations.
Final Rule on Remote ID
The final rule on remote ID will require most drones operating in US airspace to have remote ID capability. Remote ID will provide information about drones in flight, such as the identity, location, and altitude of the drone and its control station or take-off location. Authorized individuals from public safety organizations may request the identity of the drone’s owner from the FAA.
The FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems was published on December 31, 2019. The FAA received over 53,000 comments on the NPRM during the 60-day comment period following publication. The FAA reviewed all of the comments and considered them when writing the final rule. The final rule (PDF) was published in the Federal Register on January 15, 2021, with an original effective date of March 16, 2021. Corrections made to the rule and published in the Federal Register on March 10, 2021, delayed the effective date to April 21, 2021.
There are three ways drone pilots will be able to meet the identification requirements of the remote ID rule:
- Operate a Standard Remote ID Drone (PDF) that broadcasts identification and location information about the drone and its control station. A Standard Remote ID Drone is one that is produced with built-in remote ID broadcast capability in accordance with the remote ID rule’s requirements.
- Operate a drone with a remote ID broadcast module (PDF). A broadcast module is a device that broadcasts identification and location information about the drone and its take-off location in accordance with the remote ID rule’s requirements. The broadcast module can be added to a drone to retrofit it with remote ID capability. Persons operating a drone with a remote ID broadcast module must be able to see their drone at all times during a flight.
- Operate (without remote ID equipment) (PDF) at FAA-recognized identification areas (FRIAs) sponsored by community-based organizations or educational institutions. FRIAs are the only locations unmanned aircraft (drones and radio-controlled airplanes) may operate without broadcasting remote ID message elements.
Changes From the NPRM
Following public comments and technical challenges, the FAA decided to eliminate the NPRM “Limited Remote Identification UAS” category to transmit remote ID messages through an internet connection to a Remote ID UAS Service Supplier. This option has been replaced by the remote ID broadcast module option that allows for the retrofit of existing drones.
The FAA made several other changes to the proposed rule for the final rule on remote ID after evaluating commenters’ feedback. Changes from the NPRM to the final rule include:
- Compliance dates –
o The compliance date for manufacturers was reduced from 24 months to 18 months after the rule’s effective date. See below for details.
o The compliance date for operators was shortened from 36 months to 30 months after the rule’s effective date. See below for details.
- Registration – Under the NPRM, recreational drone pilots had to have a unique registration number for each of their aircraft. Under the final rule, recreational drone pilots may continue to register once and apply that unique registration number to multiple aircraft. During registration, they have to list the serial number of any Standard Remote ID unmanned aircraft (including drones and model aircraft) they register. If they use a remote ID broadcast module, the module’s serial number must be listed on their registration, which will permit them to move the module from unmanned aircraft to unmanned aircraft so long as the unmanned aircraft are on the same registration number.
Changes From the NPRM for Manufacturers
In addition to changes affecting drone pilots, the final rule also provides for changes in requirements for manufacturers. The chart below provides some examples of changes from the NPRM. For more information, visit the Remote ID for Industry page.
Changes From the NPRM for Requesting a FRIA
Another set of changes from the NPRM applies to FRIAs. After the operational compliance date (MO/DAY/YR), FRIAs are the only locations where someone may fly an unmanned aircraft (drone or model airplane) without remote ID capability without FAA authorization. The chart below provides some examples of changes from the NPRM to the final rule.
Which Drone Pilots Must Comply With the Rule?
All drone pilots required to register their UAS must operate their aircraft in accordance with the final rule on remote ID beginning 30 months after the rule’s effective date, which gives drone owners sufficient time to upgrade their aircraft.
What Information Will be Broadcast?
Whether using a Standard Remote ID Drone or a remote ID broadcast module, the message elements must be broadcast from take-off to shutdown. A Standard Remote ID Drone or a drone with a remote ID broadcast module must transmit the following message elements:
- A unique identifier for the drone;
- The drone’s latitude, longitude, geometric altitude, and velocity;
- An indication of the latitude, longitude, and geometric altitude of the control station (standard) or take-off location (broadcast module);
- A time mark; and
- Emergency status (Standard Remote ID Drone only)
See the Remote ID for Drone Pilots page for more details.
Almost all of the final rule on remote ID becomes effective on April 21, 2021. The subpart covering the process for FRIA applications from community-based organizations and educational institutions becomes effective September 16, 2022.
Here are other dates of note:
- September 16, 2022:
o Drone manufacturers must comply with the final rule’s requirements for them.
- September 16, 2023:
o All drone pilots must meet the operating requirements of part 89. For most operators this will mean flying a Standard Remote ID Drone, equipping it with a broadcast module, or flying at a FRIA.
- Executive Summary (PDF)
Remote ID Toolkit (PDF)