The US skies just became a bit more unfriendly today its the Federal Aviation Administration announced that recreational drones will be required to be registered. Why? Well, unfortunately for the rest of us, some drone owners are using their devices unsafely, with a number of close calls with passenger aircraft and police helicopters being reported.
While the regulations aren't yet in place, the FAA wants to have a drone task force set up guidelines for registration by the busy Christmas buying season, when a total of 700,000 drones are expected to sell in the US alone this year. The task force will be asked to determine which drones need to be registered. Some are limited in range and altitude, and are quite lightweight, while other drones are heavier, can fly to high altitudes, and have autonomous functions.
A Parrot Bebop drone with the optional SkyController and an iPad can be flown up to 2 km. away from a ground-based pilot, meaning that a malicious pilot could cause problems without even being seen. The FAA realizes that the registry will not keep drone pilots from doing stupid and dangerous things, but hopes that it will make some of them think twice before doing something like flying a drone into the path of an oncoming passenger jet.
Commercial operators are already required to license their devices. The above visualization from Graphiq shows just how many commercial licenses have been issued by state. The FAA says that the regulations will apply to existing drones as well as new purchases.