Remote ID in the US: What’s Next?

Maddie Wenger, Intern

Days before the September 16th, 2023, deadline requiring virtually all drone operators to retrofit their older drones with Remote ID beacons, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced they will instead practice "discretionary enforcement" for Remote ID compliance for six months. This leniency is specifically aimed at pilots with older drones that were not equipped with a Remote ID transmitting module by the manufacturer (per a law that went into effect for all drones sold after on December 16th, 2022, requiring all drones to have pre-installed Remote ID capabilities). Drone operators with older drones now have until March 16th, 2024, to equip their drones with the module to broadcast the drone identifying information and location.  

For more casual observers, here’s what you need to know:

What is Remote ID?

Remote ID technology broadcasts a drone’s identification information, including the drone’s model, serial number, current and take-off location, and flight details. It’s like a virtual license plate that enables authorities to access this information, and thus allowing them to make more knowledgeable decisions while protecting airspaces. Imagine trying to police roads when there are no license plates on the cars; without Remote ID, that’s the situation in our skies. Mandating Remote ID is a crucial step towards bettering airspace security.  

Remote ID Regulation: A Brief History

The FAA first proposed the idea of a rule requiring drones to broadcast Remote ID in December 2019. In December 2020, the FAA finalized this rule and decided that they would give operators and manufacturers 30 months to comply. Those 30 months came to an end mid-September 2023, meaning that after the 16th, all drones weighing greater than 250 grams would be required to transmit Remote ID identification information. However, 3 days before the mandatory compliance date, the FAA announced that they would be instituting a policy of discretionary enforcement until March 2024.  

Where Do We Stand Now?

Remote ID is a great start toward a more secure airspace – but it’s not a complete airspace security solution. Bad actors can alter a Remote ID broadcast or hide it completely, much like a bank robber taking the license plates off a getaway car.  We need more than just Remote ID to ensure safety against malicious drones. Adopting a comprehensive drone detection system, such as that offered by Dedrone, is necessary to provide more comprehensive protection.  

What’s Next?

From the drone pilots’ perspective, the FAA still urges pilots to become Remote ID compliant as quickly as they can – even before the March 2024 deadline. Fortunately, many pilots don’t have to do anything: Drones have been mandated to be built with Remote ID capability since December 2022.

For security professionals, Remote ID will never be the complete solution to protect against drones. Dedrone not only offers Remote ID detection but also detection of non-transmitting drones, either due to older equipment or purposeful cloaking. Learn more about Drone Remote ID.

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