With drones taking to the skies at a dizzying rate, the UK government is stepping in, requiring all drone operators to register their unmanned aerial vehicles and pass an online pilot test.
In a press release, the UK Civil Aviation Authority announced that in conjunction with the mandatory registration it is launching a new service to help drone owners find their lost drones.
Drone operators have to pass a test
Under the scheme, all drone owners and operators in the UK that have droves that weigh more than 250g have to register them. Registration costs £9 which the UK government argues is a lot cheaper than replacing a lost drone. UK drone owners have until 30 November to register or they can face a fine of as much as $1290, according to one report.
In order to fly a drone in UK skies, operators have to pass a theory test to get a flyer ID. If the operator is under the age of 13, a parent or guardian must register the child but the child has to take the test in order to operate the drone.
As part of its push to register drones, it also unveiled Drones Reunited, a platform that helps people recover the thousands of drones lost in the U.K. annually. The UK Civil Aviation Authority said that based on new research more than a quarter of drone owners or 26% have lost a drone. The study found most of the lost drones are due to flight malfunctions such as battery loss, poor signal or technology failure while a quarter of the cases is due to pilot error.
The UK wants to reunite drone owners with their lost aerial vehicles
The UK Civil Aviation Authority said the drone registration scheme was necessary to enable the Drones Reunited platform to be operational. Each registered operator of a drone gets a unique code they must apply to their drones. Anyone who loses a drone must post the details to the Drones Reunited site, while anyone who finds a drone will be encouraged to check the device for a registration number. The Civil Aviation Authority will help to ensure the drones get returned to their owners.
“Drones Reunited is a UK-first - an essential service that is only possible thanks to the drone registration scheme that is also launched today. The service is about giving something back to the community, helping responsible drone owners and operators to be reunited with lost drones and continue flying," said Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the UK Civil Aviation Authority in a press release. "Our aim is for the Drones Reunited platform to become an essential service for the drone community - the first port of call for anyone who has lost, or found, a drone.”