US May Soon Require Drones to Have Visible License Plates

Heads up if you’re a drone-flying photographer in the United States: the government may soon require a physical license plate on the outside of your drone.

Bloomberg spotted the proposed rule that was quietly filed earlier this month.

Drone owners are currently required to register their aircraft with the FAA and place identification information somewhere on their drone, but the new rule would go a step further and require license plates that are visible at all times, just like what’s required of cars.

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

If enacted, the rule would make it easier for authorities to identify and track down the owners of drones spotted flying in illegal ways without needing high-tech solutions like DJI’s AeroScope system.

Details surrounding the proposed rule (e.g. license plate size requirements and penalties for violations) are currently scarce, and there’s no word on if or when it may be imposed on drone owners.

(via Bloomberg via Engadget)

Image credits: Header illustration based on drone photo by DJI and license plate photo by Happoshu (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)