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Track All Drones From Your Phone? New ASTM Standard

ASTM International recently announced plans to satisfy growing calls for an identification and tracking system for unmanned aircraft systems (drones) in airspace systems worldwide by developing a standard. The “Remote ID” standard under designation F3411 was developed by the ASTM International unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) committee that hopes to allow the general public and public safety officials to obtain the capability to identify a drone using an assigned ID.

A rise in the use of drones and integration into the National Airspace System (NAS) has created safety and security concerns — primarily collisions with traditionally manned commercial and private aircrafts, radio frequency interference, and surveillance and data collection — that the Remote ID standard hopes to moderate. Standardizing a process of identifying drones is poised to help the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), federal security authorities, public safety and aviation officials, drone manufacturers and service suppliers to work in a regulated airspace and minimize risks.

In part, the Remote ID standard aims to eliminate fears of perceived or actual furtiveness of drone use by allowing the public and public safety officials to identify a drone by its assigned ID without compromising the privacy of the operator’s personal information. With safety as a parallel priority, the assigned ID will allow identification of a drone’s location, speed, and direction. Drone system architect at Intel, Gabriel Cox, says “A receiver could be a common smartphone that will be able to associate the ID with the location of the drone.”

Drones are no longer just associated with defense and combat operations but are one of the fastest-growing segments of the aerospace industry and have become normalized in a variety of commercial applications across industries. Unsurprisingly, regulators must catch up to set regulatory standards for practices that have already been well ingrained. The increased adoption of technology tools helps reassure regulators and the public that UAS operations are being conducted in a safe and controlled manner. As trust and acceptance of UAS technology grows, so too does the list of allowed applications for this exciting field.

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