Among the massive speeches eventually week’s CES 2018 was the tackle by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Chao introduced that drone registration within the United States has topped 1,000,000 – a headline grabbing proven fact that Chao used as an indicator of the success of this system.
But Harrison Wolf, Drone Project Lead for the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says these numbers aren’t as spectacular as they sound.
“Identification, tracking, and the mitigation of threats are quickly becoming the most important issues facing drones. Without robust, industry-wide collaboration that enables new technologies; manufacturers, consumers, and authorities are forced to rely on a voluntary registration system that is largely neglected,” Wolf tells DRONELIFE. “Though 1 million drones registered with the FAA since the systems creation may seem like a lot, it represents less than one-third of estimated drones being flown as of one-year ago. Without enforcement, technological innovation, or a more effective education campaign, voluntary registration simply doesn’t work.”
In a snap evaluation of this system, Wolf says that the success of this system has been questionable from the beginning. “Controversy, technical concerns, and court rulings have plagued the drone registration process from its inception,” Wolf writes. “Regardless as to the legality of the requirements for hobbyists to register, tracking and identification of drones has become the most important topic in the industry.”
Wolf sees registration as solely step one in “developing a tracking and identification systems that protect society and deter bad actions from otherwise reasonable people.”
“Identifying a drone to an owner will have an ameliorating effect on behaviour; we’ve seen that when people can hide through anonymity they often act with less compassion, less attention, and less responsibility,” Wolf writes.
“Participation by the industry is a major hurdle as we’ve seen less than half of all drones being registered each year. The announcement that drone registrations passed the 1 million mark demonstrates both the success of a growing industry and failure of the program to engage even a majority of the participants with negligible enforcement or education.”
“…Is it worth the effort if enforcement is negligible?”
This is a query we’ve requested earlier than – and as new lawsuits towards the registration program collect steam it appears that evidently some section of drone operators simply don’t agree with the idea. Another giant section of the inhabitants doesn’t appear to realize it exists – and a full-on publicity effort would require important assets. If the hole between those that register and whole drones within the sky continues to widen, it’s a query that even the FAA might start to ponder.