At the time of this article’s publication, no database exists that requires the registration of drones or other unmanned aircraft, despite the pressing need for such a database to exist. Drones are sophisticated pieces of technology that are able to fly great distances and record video footage while doing so, and in the wrong hands they could do a lot of damage or get into places they shouldn’t. Drone pilots’ information should be recorded in a database so that if a drone crashes, trespasses, or breaks privacy laws, the pilot can be held responsible.
Drone creators are hesitant to create a global database because different countries would have varying rules of what is and isn’t acceptable for drones to do, and so a set of globally accepted rules and regulations would be impossible to create and base a database on. Officers and registration officials would have multiple dispatch areas rather than a single area to extract pilot details from, which could end up being inefficient. To remedy this, the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, is working towards addressing these concerns since they will most likely be the main operant of this sort of database.
It is also unclear if civilians will be perceptive to the idea of this database at all, since their drones would be non-commercialized. The United States tried to push for non-commercialized drones to be registered, but ultimately the Federal court dismissed the decision in May of 2017. This led to the FAA having to refund citizens who registered their drones.
At the end of September, Amazon, Google, and other business giants are set to meet in Montreal, Quebec, to talk about the development of a drone registry. On top of pilot registration, it is highly probable that companies will work towards creating geofences to prevent unmanned vehicles from entering airspace that they shouldn’t, which will help prevent drones from interacting with small aircraft and causing trouble.
A database of this sort will make it easy for pilots to be identified and held responsible if a crash occurs. Drones sometimes crash into trees, large buildings, or other tall objects, and can cause significant damage to the structures or to bystanders. Without a registry, it is too easy for a pilot to get away without any consequences if their drone crash causes damages, or if their drone entered airspace it wasn’t supposed to.