America Proposes New Rules Requiring Drones to Broadcast Their Location Online

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    LetterRip (Slashdot reader #30,937) shares a report from Ars Technica: More than 34,000 people have deluged the Federal Aviation Administration with comments over a proposed regulation that would require almost every drone in the sky to broadcast its location over the Internet at all times. The comments are overwhelmingly negative, with thousands of hobbyists warning that the rules would impose huge new costs on those who simply wanted to continue flying model airplanes, home-built drones, or other personally owned devices… The new rules are largely designed to address safety and security concerns raised by law enforcement agencies. They worry that drones flying too close to an airport could disrupt operations or even cause a crash. They also worry about terrorists using drones to deliver payloads to heavily populated areas. To address these concerns, the new FAA rule would require all new drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds to connect over the Internet to one of several location-tracking databases (still to be developed by private vendors) and provide real-time updates on their location. That would enable the FAA or law enforcement agencies to see, at a glance, which registered drones are in any particular area… The rules require that the drone itself have an Internet connection. That will instantly render many existing drones obsolete, forcing hobbyists to upgrade or discard them. And it will also make it significantly more expensive to own a drone, since you’ll need to sign up for a data plan…. Apparently anticipating a backlash, the FAA does offer a workaround for people with existing or custom-built aircraft: special FAA-designated areas where people could fly non-compliant aircraft. These would be run by “community-based organizations” — most likely existing model airplane clubs that already operate fields for hobbyists to fly their aircraft. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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