One million drones have been registered with the FAA as of this week, announced Elaine Chao, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation at CES 2018. This figure includes 878,000 hobbyists. Hobbyist drone pilots receive one registration number for all the drones that they own. Then there are also 122,000 commercial, public, and other drones that are individually registered.
Commercial drone registrations grew 14.3% in the last two months of 2017
As of October 31, 2017, there were 836,796 hobbyist users and 106,739 non-hobbyist drones registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. So these new numbers represent a 5% uptick in hobbyist drone owner registrations and a 14.3% uptick in commercial drone registrations over the last two months of 2017. The hobbyist registration number seems low in light of predictions in other countries like the UK, where it was predicted that the number of drones would practically double during the Holiday shopping season. However, since a hobbyist drone pilot only needs one registration regardless of the number of drones owned, the registration number is not a good indicator of the number of hobbyist drones sold.
“The tremendous growth in drone registration reflects the fact that they are more than tools for commerce and trade, but can save lives, detect hazardous situations and assist with disaster recovery,” Chao said in a statement. “The challenge is to remove unnecessary hurdles to enable the safe testing and integration of this technology into our country’s airspace.”
Apart from it being a legal requirement, the drone registration process helps to educate new drone pilots of the aviation rules and regulations as far as they apply to drones. It also helps to identify drones with their owner, the DOT said. Furthermore, the registration database helps the FAA to send out safety messages to both hobbyist and commercial drone pilots
Drone registration with the FAA for hobbyists costs $5 and is valid for three years.
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