License Plates & Drone Information Requirements

In comments to the FAA this past Spring, the Center for Democracy &
Technology floated an idea of having “license plates” for drones (see:
p. 5-7 of CDT’s comments to the FAA).

Unlike license plates for cars, the idea would be to have a standard
radio-frequency form of identification that drones broadcast such that
people on the ground can know what drones are operating in the skies
above them, as well as what kinds of data collection packages they may
have. It turns out that manned aircraft will have to do exactly this by
2020, using a standard called ADS-B Out.

CC black_clawThis is but one aspect of regulatory requirements for licensing and
registration of drones and UAVs. In this working group session we will
explore the narrow issue of notice to ground-based observers to discover
just what kinds of requirements different constituencies may require or
desire for drones that engage in data collection.

After some brief background from the facilitator (Hall), we’ll engage in
group discussion of the following issues:

Technical - How feasible is it to broadcast ADS-B Out from drone
airframes? Is there a market need here for small footprint (size,
weight, power) solutions? Is broadcasting ADS-B Out from the drone
operator ground station an adequate substitute for airframe broadcast?

Information Services – What kinds of services do we anticipate could
use real-time drone location information? What are the needs of these

Proprietary interests – Where do the interests of a drone operator in
terms of proprietary interests begin and end? Are there valid trade
secret-like operational interests that a registration and licensing
regime should accommodate?

Manned aircraft interface – What kinds of information may manned
aircraft need/desire to operate in space co-existant with drones? For
example, if a rescue helicopter is approaching a news scene with many
drone observing platforms, what information might be provided by drones
to keep the helicopter and its mission safe while allowing reasonable
access to observers?

Licensing and registration – What kinds of information about the type
of drone platform, its capabilities, and its proposed uses must be
disclosed to operate a surveillance-capable drone? On what grounds
should licenses be revoked or suspended?