Drones could need a license plate under new US plans

Drones could soon require their own license plate, under new plans in the United States.

Bloomberg reports the unmanned aerial vehicles may be required to carry a visible unique identifier upon the body, rather than within the internals.

Currently, when registering their small drones, owners are able to place the registration number inside the battery pack, but a filing by the Federal Aviation Agency this month suggests the markings will need to be featured on the external surface moving forward.

“This action would require small unmanned aircraft owners to display the unique identifier assigned by the FAA upon completion of the registration process on an external surface of the aircraft,” the FAA states proposal published on the White House website.

“Small unmanned aircraft owners would no longer be permitted to enclose the unique identifier in a compartment.”

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Right now, it’s not clear where the markings would have to be placed and how large they’d need to be, but the tighter regulation would make sense given the rapid proliferation of drone ownership on both sides of the Atlantic.

If drone owners aren’t acting responsibly or within the strict aviation rules, the visible registration number would gives the public and the authorities greater recourse.

“We need assurances that any drone, any unmanned aircraft, operating in controlled airspace is identifiable and trackable,” FAA’s Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said at a recent forum. “It’s as simple as that.”

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