In recent years, the increasing popularity of drones has brought both tremendous advancements and significant challenges. One crucial challenge is ensuring the security of your airspace from potential threats posed by a nefarious and non-compliant uncrewed aircraft system (UAS or "drone").
While the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implementation of Remote Identification, also known as "Remote ID" regulations is a step in the right direction. Remote ID helps to provide security teams with detailed information, including the drone's serial number, pilot's registration number, and location. This data empowers companies and law enforcement agencies to efficiently target and address unauthorized flights. The information can be easily integrated into the Dedrone system, allowing known friendly drones to operate without triggering an alert (whitelisting), while additional Remote ID data enables users to better assess potential risks posed by unknown drones.
However, relying solely on this technology is insufficient for complete airspace security. This overview explores the limitations of a drone monitoring system solely dependent upon a Remote ID broadcast system and highlights the necessity of Dedrone’s more complete and proactive drone detection solutions to effectively safeguard our airspace.
Starting December 16, 2022, all new drone manufacturers were required, by the FAA, to equip their drone with a standard Remote ID “beacon”.
The FAA will be enforcing Remote ID on all drones that are equipped with a RemoteID beacons. For older drones that are not already equipped with a broadcasting beacon, operators have until March 16, 2024 to equip their older drones with the broadcasting module. All Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS / aka drones) already equipped with the Remote ID braodcasting beacon must be transmitting. This regulation applies to any drone over 250 grams and all non-recreational drones, even if the drone is under the weight limit. Similarly, pilots who want to operate recreational drones under the weight limit do not have to register their drone nor have their drone broadcast a remote identification beacon.
If your drone does not have pre-built-in standard Remote ID capabilities, a pilot can simply affix a piece of hardware called a “broadcast module” to the UAS, to ensure FAA compliance.
Remote ID, mandated by the FAA, requires any drone to broadcast identification information. This data includes the drone's identity, location, and flight details, providing valuable insights for authorities to monitor and track drone activities and tie these activities back to the pilot.
Some have likened Remote ID to a drone license plate. Like license plates, although the drone pilot is not usually directly named, either a serial number or session ID is broadcast. This information can be used by authorized individuals, like police officers, to contact the FAA and get the drone pilots information.
Not on its own. Remote ID is a significant step in creating safer airspaces, but despite the clear advantages of standard Remote ID over nothing at all, it is vital to acknowledge its two key limitations.
One critical flaw of a standard Remote ID-only system is that it heavily relies on drone pilots cooperation. Criminals, intent on exploiting drones for illegal activities, are pilots that are unlikely to abide by the regulations or broadcast their location with standard Remote ID. By flying drones without identification signals, they can easily avoid detection, jeopardizing public safety and national security. Similar to a bank robber removing the license plate of their get-away car to avoid capture, a nefarious pilot will simply disable or remove their drone’s Remote ID.
Secondly, it is very easy to “spoof” a standard Remote ID. As noted in MANY online videos, this is a clever and easy way for pilots to create fake drones on a standard Remote ID app that do not even exist in the sky. Bad pilots could show a dozen different fake drones with their respective pretend pilot locations and hide the one real drone/pilot within the fake drone swarm.
In contrast, a proactive drone detection solution like Dedrone offers a comprehensive approach to airspace security. Dedrone does provide its customers the ability to access standard Remote ID data including Remote ID serial number or registration number, becoming the first to do so through both United States and European Union broadcast standards in 2021. However, a successful system does not rely solely on a drone broadcasting module and can instead detect and identify all drones in the vicinity, regardless of whether they operate with Remote ID signals. This capability allows for proactive threat mitigation, as suspicious drone activities can be promptly identified and thwarted before any harm is done. Additional enhancements include cameras for identifying payload or capturing the image of pilots and radar to extend the range of a system.
This base system can be enhanced with cameras to enable security professionals to identify payload and even gather images of the pilot. Even radar can be easily added to extend the range of the system for larger and more sensitive areas. The capabilities of a multi-sensor system go beyond mere detection. With advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, Dedrone can distinguish between harmless recreational drones and potentially malicious ones, enabling authorities to prioritize and respond to genuine threats more effectively.
Another significant advantage is Dedrone’s vast database of nearly four years and 250 million drone flights – and growing every day. This information is leveraged to identify and tag drones that have historically posed greater threats like breaking FAA altitude restrictions, flying into TFR’s or breaching other types of restricted airspace. Such comprehensive monitoring is essential, given the ever-evolving tactics employed by those seeking to exploit drone technology for illegal purposes.
While Remote ID regulations are a necessary first step in enhancing drone accountability, they are insufficient for comprehensive airspace security. Criminal elements are unlikely to adhere to these rules, rendering a Remote ID-only detection system inadequate. Dedrone’s proactive airspace monitoring system does not rely on pilot compliance, and presents a more robust and effective approach to airspace security, as it can detect all drones in the vicinity whether they are with or without ID active Remote ID broadcast modules.
With Dedrone, security providers can confidently operate without disruption, regardless of whether the drone is registered and compliant or unregistered and potentially malicious.
We are pleased to answer the most important questions about Remote ID. You are welcome to send us more questions.
All non-recreational drones are required to transmit Remote ID, as well as any recreational drone that is greater than 250 grams.
All new drones manufactured after December 2022 (in the US) should already include Remote ID capabilities, in accordance with FAA regulations. If your drone does not already have Remote ID, this can be easily rectified by adding a broadcast module to your drone in order to transmit the required identification information.
Remote ID is a drone’s capability to broadcast identification information such as its identity, drone location, pilot location, take-off location and flight details. Think of it like a license plate for drones. Not just anyone can access your personal information through your license plate or through Remote ID, but authorized officials, such as police officers, can get the information that they need to keep everyone safe.
If your drone was manufactured after September 2022 in the United States, then you should be all set with Remote ID capability. If not, check the FAA website to see if your drone has an accepted Declaration of Compliance, meaning it is in compliance with the FAA’s standards for Remote ID.
If your drone was manufactured after September 2022 in the United States, then it should have Remote ID capability. If not, you can check the FAA website’s list of which aircraft have accepted Declarations of Compliance, meeting the FAA’s standards regarding remote identification. If your drone doesn’t have Remote ID, the problem is easily fixable through a broadcast Remote ID device that can be attached to your drone.
Any drones manufactured in the US after September 2022 already have a Remote ID serial number, as well as many others that can be found on the FAA’s website under Declaration of Compliance.
With the new Remote ID regulations in place, groups have begun developing and releasing apps that allow the detection of drones through Remote ID.
Starting March 2024, all drones are required to have Remote ID unless they are under 250 grams and used solely for recreational purposes. Drones can be registered through the FAA online by providing the drones serial number.