The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced that it had registered more than a million drone owners with the help of its automated online portal, showing the explosive growth of both unmanned aircraft systems and the technology needed to track them.
The FAA implemented the drone registration rule in December 2015, requiring owners of small unmanned aircraft weighing between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds to register online before flying the drones outdoors. Drone owners then submit information like their name, physical address and email address, and receive a certificate and registration number to affix to their aircraft.
Because of the increasing popularity of recreational drones — 300,000 owners registered within the first month of the rule, a total that increased more than 230 percent in two years — the agency worked with IT contractor CSRA to design a system to handle the registration process.
The company designed the FAA’s DroneZone registration website with user-centered navigation and automation features to streamline the registration process.
“The partnership between the FAA and CSRA has enabled Americans to quickly and easily register their drones as this technology has exploded onto the landscape,” John Ludecke, head of CSRA’s Civilian Agencies Group, said in a statement. “This is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to continuing to provide an ‘easy button’ for Americans to register this burgeoning technology.”
FAA officials said Jan. 11 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the million registrants included 878,000 hobbyists and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones. Hobbyist owners receive one registration number for every drone they own, while commercial and public operators get individual registration numbers for each aircraft.
Registration is valid for three years and costs $5.