Drone Pilots

02.23.2021 | Kespry

FAA Releases Remote ID, Requiring Drones to have Digital License Plate

The FAA just released its Remote ID ruling, making this the largest regulatory change for drones in years, but don’t worry! Part of the purpose of this ruling is to allow for more complex operations in the future, and that’s a good thing.

The new ruling will require drones to broadcast their location as they fly, which should make the airspace safer and as mentioned above, allow for more complex operations. When the FAA first proposed Remote ID in 2019, there was criticism from the drone community as a whole, because the original proposal would require drones to maintain an internet connection, which not only made expensive monthly fees a reality but would have also prevented drones from flying in remote locations without access to cellphone towers. As one of the leaders in the drone technology space, we made our objections known, as well as 50,000 others. Thankfully, the FAA spent more than a year taking the feedback into consideration and the final Remote ID regulation has been met with positive feedback from our community.

So what changes?


Drones will now require a digital license plate, not unlike the current tracking system in place for manned aircraft. Drones will now broadcast their serial numbers during flight, also showing their location, altitude, speed and direction of flight. The takeoff location will also be made available, likely through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. People on the ground who are equipped with a smartphone will be able to use an app to find information about the craft and the pilot, and law enforcement/federal agencies will have the ability to cross-reference the license plate number with the pilot’s information. The general public will not have the ability to access this info.

Part of the good news with this change is most drones will be able to perform a firmware update without additional costs. Older drones can attach a module to their drone that will broadcast a signal.

Remote ID is not an immediate change, it will come through multiple phases. The first comes to drone manufacturers, who will need to fully comply with Remote ID by September 2022. All drones sold after this point must be Remote ID-compliant ahead of the September 2023 compliance date for drone pilots.

Kespry is working with our drone partner, DJI, to make sure we can make these changes with minimal disruption to our customers. If you have any specific questions on how this may impact you, you can also reach out to hello@kespry.com for personalized help. You can also learn more about our operations and drones at the Resource Page.

You can find the whole article from Nextgov who first reported on this story here.