What is Remote ID?
To enhance airspace security, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated Remote Identification (ID) which requires all drones in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties.
Remote ID is essentially a drone license plate, but the drone's owner may not be directly listed in the information broadcast. To protect the privacy of the drone operator, either a serial number or session ID is broadcast.
Authorized individuals from public safety organizations can contact the FAA to get the pilot’s information. At the time this article was published there is no additional information on who is considered an authorized individual.
When Does Remote ID Take Effect?
Drones manufactured after December 16, 2022 must include Remote ID.
Existing drones must be compliant either through updates or broadcast modules by September 16, 2023. The FAA issued this statement about that compliance date:
"Drone pilots are expected to comply with the original September 16, 2023 compliance date for Remote ID. However, the FAA understands that some drone pilots may not be able to comply because of limited availability of broadcast modules and lack of approved FAA-Recognized Identification Areas. In those instances, the FAA will consider all factors in determining whether to take enforcement action through March 16, 2024. It's important to note that the FAA expects drone pilots to comply with the requirements of the Remote ID rule as soon as possible."
Any drones under 250 grams do not currently need to comply with Remote ID requirements
What Are the Types of Remote ID?
Standard Remote ID is when the capability is built into the drone from the manufacturer. Standard Remote ID drones should not be able to fly when the Remote ID transmission is not functioning.
Broadcast is a drone that has an external broadcast module equipped to be Remote ID compliant. For example, this could be an older drone which cannot simply receive a software update to become compliant.
There are operating limitations when using this style of Remote ID when compared to standard. Those limitations are surrounding Operations Over People (OOP) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Broadcast drones are not allowed to operate Beyond Visual Line Of Sight, whereas standard Remote ID drones can apply for a waiver for BVLOS operations. Drones with broadcast modules can only meet some aspects of the OOP categories therefore they are limited in their ability for operations over people.
Drones with the broadcast module are typically able to function when Remote ID is not functioning properly. These types of drones might be a popular choice among nefarious drone pilots.
FAA Recognized Identification Areas (FRIA) are the only legal locations to operate drones without Remote ID broadcasting elements.
An example of this would be a local field that is designated for radio-controlled flight. These are in low risk areas and a known spot where planes and drones are operated. The FAA estimates that there will be 4000 FRIAs across the US.
What Information is Broadcast?
Standard Remote ID drones broadcast the Drone ID, Location, Altitude, Velocity, Control station Location and elevation, Time Mark, and Emergency Status.
Drones with a Remote ID Broadcast Module Drone ID, Location, Altitude, Velocity, Takeoff Location and Elevation, and Time Mark.
The primary difference between the standard Remote ID and broadcast Remote ID is the controller location. Standard Remote ID dynamically updates the location of the Ground Control Station (GCS) during the flight, whereas a broadcast module will only broadcast the location from which the drone took off. While this is usually the location of the controller, it will be different if the pilot moves while operating the drone.
Drone ID is a unique identifier for the drone. Standard Remote ID Drones may choose whether to use the drone's serial number or a session ID while Broadcast modules broadcast the module’s serial number. The drone’s serial number can be used to identify the make and model of the drone through the FAA Declaration of Compliance list.
Currently the FAA says, “The session ID will be uniquely identifiable such that law enforcement and the FAA can correlate each session ID to a specific drone's serial number, but this ability will not be publicly available. The FAA is developing a strategy for assignment of session ID to drone pilots and will consider existing policies when developing the session ID policy. In addition, the FAA will seek public comment on the session ID policy prior to finalizing it.”
When registering a Remote ID enabled drone on the FAA Drone Zone you are prompted to enter the Remote ID serial number, which will allow for tracking who is piloting which drone through the FAAs database. It has not been determined whether this will be public information or only available upon request to the FAA.
Who Can Receive It?
Anyone can receive the Remote ID broadcast. It is publicly available and can be seen with a receiver.
Looking up drone IDs and session IDs to identify the name of the pilot must be done by a "person of authority" and by contacting the FAA. Again, what constitutes a "person of authority" has not yet been clearly defined.
What Drones & Devices are Currently Capable of Transmitting on Remote ID?
The list of drones and modules that are in compliance with the FAA Remote ID requirements can be found here. As new drones are manufactured, they are added to the list.
Some drones currently on that list are DJI Mavic 3 series, DJI Avita, DJI Agras T30 & T40, Autel Dragonfish Series, Autel Evo II series, Parrot Anifi AI.
Some Broadcast modules are Drone Tag, Bluemark DB200 and others. These modules can be integrated with drones to make older drones compliant with Remote ID.
Can Remote ID be Disabled?
Remote ID cannot currently be disabled on DJI Aircraft such as the Mavic 3, through the DJI Apps. There are still ways using 3rd party apps to either spoof the Remote ID signature or to completely disable the broadcast.
Is Remote ID a Replacement for RF Drone Detection?
No, Remote ID can be spoofed through a variety of methods, allowing the drone and controller to appear to be in different locations than they actually are or providing different information.
How does Remote ID Change AeroDefense’s AirWarden System?
Remote ID provides massive benefits to existing AirWarden fixed and mobile systems. AirWarden detects drones that are broadcasting Remote ID information which provides additional information such as the aircraft’s serial number and altitude - information previously unattainable without violating federal privacy laws.
AirWarden Command Console - Remote ID Detection
In addition, AeroDefense has developed and manufactured a Remote ID receiver which receives Remote ID broadcasts and detects some non-broadcasting WiFi drones.