DJI Objects To FAA's 'Flawed' Remote ID Drone Plan

DJI Objects To FAA's 'Flawed' Remote ID Drone Plan

DJI says the proposal would cost nine times more than U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates, imposing $5.6billion worth of costs over the next decade.

Last updated: Feb 26, 2021

4 minute read

  • DJI lodges formal comment urging FAA to allow drone pilots in the U.S. to choose which method of Remote ID to use with their aircraft;
  • Independent economic study concludes that the FAA's Remote ID proposal would prove nine times as costly as FAA's estimates;
  • Economic study shows that the total costs over 10 years would be $5.6billion instead of the FAA’s $582million estimate;
  • DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman says the proposal is 'deeply flawed' and poses a threat to how pilots use drones in America.

DJI has lodged an 89-page formal comment urging the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow drone pilots to choose which method of Remote Identification to use with their drones, which would 'significantly reduce the costs and complications of Remote ID while boosting compliance'.

DJI has used evidence from an independent economic study which says that law enforcement and local communities would face huge UAS-related costs, if the proposal goes ahead in its current form.

DJI’s filing includes an independent economic study that concludes the FAA’s Remote ID proposal would prove nine times as costly as the FAA’s estimates, imposing $5.6billion worth of burdens on society over the next decade.

Based on a comprehensive consumer survey, the proposed rule will result in $2.58billion in additional consumer costs and $1.79billion in reduced UAS output. Consumers must also spend $50million in additional registration fees and costs related to early obsolescence. Law enforcement and local communities will also have to spend approximately $1.07billion in additional UAS related costs. There will also be an additional $80million in customer support costs.

Summary of Findings in economic analysis by Dr Christian Dippon

The analysis finds many of those costs could be avoided if drone pilots could choose between two different methods of compliance, rather than doing both as the FAA proposed.

The economic analysis was prepared by Dr Christian Dippon, Managing Director at NERA Economic Consulting, who considered the societal costs of the FAA’s proposed rule.

He concluded the average monthly cost of a Remote ID network-based service for a drone user would be $9.83, rather than the FAA’s $2.50 estimate; that demand for drones would fall 10% if the FAA’s proposals were imposed as written; and that total costs over 10 years would be $5.6billion instead of the FAA’s $582million estimate.

“We have known for years that Remote ID will be required by governments worldwide and will provide members of the public with confidence in productive drone uses, but the FAA’s deeply flawed proposal poses a real threat to how American businesses, governments, educators, photographers and enthusiasts can use drones,” said DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman.

He added: “We hope our detailed economic analysis and comments, as well as tens of thousands of comments from other concerned parties, will encourage the FAA to develop a more risk-based, balanced and efficient Remote ID rule, so our customers and the entire industry are not hurt by the final outcome.”

DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman.

DJI’s comment was one of more than 51,000 filed by the FAA’s March 2 deadline, and is expected to be available soon at this link. DJI’s comment is also available for download at this link. NERA’s economic analysis is available for download at this link.

“A Remote ID requirement that is costly, burdensome, complex, or subject to multiple points of failure, will be a requirement that fails. We offer these comments, many of which are highly critical of aspects of the FAA’s proposal, in the sincere interest of promoting a good final rule for the FAA, the U.S. Government, and the UAS industry.”

Quote from DJI's submission

Remote ID allows authorities to identify and monitor airborne drones in near-real time, so they can see the location of the drone as well as a serial number to identify its owner. Congress tasked the FAA in 2016 with exploring consensus-based technology standards that could lead to Remote ID regulatory solutions.

Late last year, the FAA proposed that almost all drones should broadcast that information directly to nearby receivers, as well as transmit it over wireless networks to a service provider’s database, with an anticipated monthly subscription fee for that service.

A DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, which has a thermal sensor and is a vital tool for public safety.

DJI and many other drone stakeholders have instead said the FAA should let drone operators choose whether to use broadcast or network solutions for Remote ID. Any new Remote ID rule is unlikely to take effect before 2024.

DJI’s comment also expands on many other points that the drone manufacturer has made previously about the risks of the FAA’s proposal, which the company says would hurt people who have safely and successfully used drones across the country for years, hamper the adoption of a technology that is bringing enormous value to America, and create costs and complications that far outweigh the benefits of the FAA’s broadcast-and-network approach.

DJI - the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology - also says that 'a burdensome proposal' undermines the government’s own goals for Remote ID.

Drones in the DJI Mavic 200 Series are a powerful tool for enterprise.

DJI has advocated for favorable solutions to Remote ID for years, recognizing that authorities need to understand drone activity in real-time in order to allow full integration of drones in the skies.

DJI recently demonstrated a Drone-to-Phone broadcast Remote ID solution which uses an open, non-proprietary industry standard and provides Remote ID information on commonly-available smartphones without imposing any extra cost or effort on drone operators. This demonstration showed that Remote ID can be accomplished in a way that is far cheaper and easier than what the FAA has proposed.

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