Company: FAA rejected proposal to streamline UAS registration

By Patrick C. Miller | July 23, 2015

A proposal to simplify and streamline the registration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) being flown commercially was shot down by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to Michael Singer, CEO of Detroit-based Drone View Technologies (DVT).

Because of the number of incidents of near misses between commercial airliners and UAS near airports and increasing reports of drones being flown in restricted airspace, Singer believes it’s important for air traffic controllers and law enforcement to know who’s flying unmanned aircraft and where.

“We were looking to bring an easier, more streamlined process around the registration component, both for the users and the equipment because archaic, paper-based systems don’t yield great compliance,” Singer said.

James Mackler, a Nashville attorney with the Bone McAllester Norton law firm who specializes in UAS law, told UAS Magazine that the FAA’s process for registering aircraft is “complicated and antiquated.”

“You’re building a framework where you’re going to have terrible compliance,” Singer noted. “People don’t want to wait four to six weeks to do most things, certainly not something like this.”

Using cell phone technology, DVT’s objective was to work within the goals of the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking for small UAS by developing a system that associated ownership of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with where it was flying.

Singer said DVT had a phone meeting with high-level FAA officials to discuss the company’s concept for a registration and tracking platform. However, he said the agency told CVT its ideas were unworkable because not everyone owns a cell phone and legislation would have to be passed to change the existing aircraft registration process.

While noting that he didn’t want to be publicly critical of the FAA, Singer said he was frustrated because the agency seemed to agree with the need for the system DVT proposed, but had no desire to pursue the work the company had done to develop it.

“After numerous informal conversations, we have been humbled by the challenges and complexity of dealing in this arena and have chosen to move on,” Singer wrote in public comments he submitted on the FAA’s sUAS rule.

“I concluded that the time spent was going to be too great,” he explained. “Life’s too short and we have too many other opportunities to chase.”

Despite that, Singer continues to stress that increased incidents of illegal and irresponsible drone flying highlight the need for a system that makes it easy to link a UAV to its owner and show where it’s being flown.

“Our architecture made it very simple with a handheld mobile device,” he said. “It would not have been burdensome to the user. It would create far better value from the information the FAA is collecting to many stakeholders—equipment manufacturers, regulators and law enforcement—to be able to improve the equipment and improve safety. Our focus was always aligned to their stated goal: Make it safer and bring value back to the users.”

For now, DVT is focusing its efforts on becoming a UAS service provider to enterprise businesses in real estate, construction, surveying, inspections and precision agriculture. But Singer said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of restarting the UAS registration project.

“We did all this work and went through the exercise,” he said. “If someone wants to pick up on it, we’d welcome the conversation.”


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