US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that the total number of drones now registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has eclipsed one million. According to the department the 1,000,000 total registration figure includes 878,000 hobbyists, who receive one identification number for all the drones they own, and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones, which are individually registered.
“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, said Secretary Chao. “The challenge is to remove unnecessary hurdles to enable the safe testing and integration of this technology into our country’s airspace.”
Registration was originally required under the FAA’s small drone registration rule effective December 21, 2015. Under this rule, aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered. Overturned by a court decision in 2017, the rule was recently reinstated in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last December.