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Drone Remote ID in 2024: What You Need To Know

Kristaps Brass
Product Owner @ SPH Engineering
SPH Engineering
February 16, 2024

Drone technology has had a tremendous impact on how business around the world is done. From reshaping the construction industry to doing powerline inspections with LiDAR, forest surveys, solar farm inspections, and more. This progress has made work easier, faster, cheaper, and better in many ways. With the good things drones bring, drones need to be used responsibly. This is where Remote ID comes into play. The main purpose of it is to increase the safety and accountability of drone operations. It also allows anyone with a mobile phone to use an app to check what drones are flying in the area. Authorities can access more information, such as the drone pilot's name, etc.

What is Remote identification for drones, and how does it work?


Think of Remote ID as a digital license plate for drones that shares its identity and where it is in real-time. This helps make flying drones safer when sharing the sky and ensures drone users follow the rules.

3 ways drone pilots can meet remote id rule
Image source: FAA

Remote ID is either already built into the drone or is added to the drone by a separate Remote ID module. Either way, when equipped with Remote ID, the drone is expected to broadcast the following information:

  • Drone ID (Remote ID compliant serial number)
  • Drone location and altitude
  • Velocity
  • Control station (operator) location and elevation
  • Time mark
  • Emergency  status
Remote ID as a digital license plate

Which drones are required to comply with Remote ID regulations?

For drone users, all drones weighing 250 grams or more (above 0.55 pounds) need to be registered and comply with Remote ID requirements. Drones weighing less do not need to be registered or comply with Remote ID as long as they are used for recreational purposes.

However - if any of these smaller drones are used for commercial purposes, they must also be registered and comply with Remote ID.

All drones over 250 grams must comply with Remote ID regulations

From what date is Remote ID required?


In the U.S., drone pilots were expected to comply with FAA policy on Remote ID starting September 16, 2023. However, it is to be enforced starting from March 16, 2024. This means that from March 16, 2024, drones operating within United States airspace need to be Remote ID compliant.
(source: https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/remote_id)


In the EU, starting from January 1, 2024, all drones operated in specific categories need to be equipped with Remote ID.
(source: https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/domains/civil-drones-rpas/specific-category-civil-drones)

Remote ID for drones is mandatory in the U.S. from March 16, 2024, and in the EU from January 1, 2024.

How do I know if my drone is RID-compliant?

Depending on your drone, it might already come with a Remote ID. DJI drones produced starting from September 2022 meet the requirements of Remote ID. To be sure, you can check the label on the drone and look for the RID compliance identifier. For example, here is how it looks on DJI M300 (circled in red):


  • If your drone comes with Remote-ID marking, you may just need to update its firmware to make it Remote-ID compatible.
  • If your drone does not come with Remote-ID marking, you will need to equip it with a Remote-ID compatible module. A list of compatible modules can be found on the FAA site.

Conclusion

While the enforcement of Remote ID will still take some time, Remote ID will be an important change in drone operations in 2024. The overall benefit it brings is higher security and transparency of drone operations, allowing society members and authorities to keep track of drones flying in the airspace near them and to make drone operations more transparent.

In the next article, we will cover more details on the upcoming changes in UgCS related to Remote ID.

About

Written by Kristaps Brass

Kristaps Brass is an Engineer and Product Owner of UgCS at SPH Engineering. During the last decade at SPH Engineering, as an experienced drone pilot, Kristaps has collected countless flight hours. He has done customer training around the world and participated in an expedition to Greenland in 2019. Kristaps is leading the team behind UgCS flight planning software, helping drone pilots transform their operations around the globe.