The committee’s report to the Federal Aviation Administration, released Tuesday, is a significant step toward widening drone flights to allow them over people, urban areas and over long distances. A system to track and identify drones is necessary before companies such as as Alphabet Inc.’s X and Amazon.com Inc. can deliver packages via unmanned drones, or for utilities and railroads can broaden their use for inspections.
While the report laid out the rough specifications necessary for such tracking, various interest groups dissented over whether certain small drones would get waivers to fly without being identified.
Allowing any drones to fly unidentified creates a “potentially dangerous loophole,” a representative for the Air Line Pilots Association said in his comments. ALPA is the largest union representing pilots in North America.
The FAA, which is working with federal and local law enforcement agencies concerned about drone safety and security, will now take the industry and hobbyists comments under advisement and begin drafting a proposed set of regulations requiring tracking.
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