By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a proposed rule for remote identification of unmanned aerial systems, UAS, commonly known as drones. The proposal, which centers on how drones can provide identification to both other airspace users and people on the ground, is seen as an important first step towards broader drone management.

“While remote identification alone will not enable routine expanded operations such as operations over people or beyond visual line of sight, it is a critical element for building unmanned traffic management capabilities,” the FAA says. “[We] envision that the remote identification network will for the foundation for the development of other technologies that can enable expanded operations.”

In recent years, the transportation construction industry’s use of UAS technology to build, maintain and inspect assets has increased exponentially. At the same time, the industry and transportation agencies still face regulatory barriers which often prevent the most efficient utilization of this technology. To address these issues, ARTBA has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the FAA, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other agencies. Moreover, in ARTBA’s recommendations for the next federal surface transportation bill, the association also called on Congress to institute a blanket waiver process for UAS usage by qualified personnel on transportation projects. (See page 29.)

ARTBA is reviewing the FAA proposal, which is open for comment through March 2. If your company or organization uses drones in its operations and you would like to provide any input, please contact me.