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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT announces plan to require drone registration

U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials yesterday announced the creation of a task force that will recommend a process for registering with the government unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones.

The task force will be charged with developing the recommendations by Nov. 20, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release.

The panel's participants will represent the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government and other stakeholders. They will advise the department on which aircraft should be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk, including toys and certain other small UAS.

The task force also will explore options for a streamlined system that would make registration less burdensome for commercial UAS operators.

"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system," Foxx said. "It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground."

Every day, the Federal Aviation Administration receives reports of potentially unsafe UAS operations. Pilot sightings of UAS have doubled since last year.

To learn how some in the railroad industry use drones, read this feature article on

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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