Drone users no longer have to register with the FAA, but that may change

drone catching drones winter olympics full
Drone hobbyists are no longer required to register with the Federal Aviation Administration thanks to a Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals ruling delivered on Friday. The ruling affirms a lower court ruling in 2016 that found the policy in violation of a preexisting law banning regulation of model aircraft.

That law, passed in 2012 and called the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, restricted the agency from passing any law that placed restrictions on how model aircraft are operated. Despite the law, the FAA moved in late 2015 to set up a system to register drones and more than 820,000 hobbyists registered to fly them.

Friday’s ruling saw surprising opposition — with some in the industry actually supporting the FAA’s efforts. “The FAA’s innovative approach to drone registration was very reasonable, and registration provides for accountability and education to drone pilots,” DJI’s policy head Brendan Schulman told Recode earlier on Friday. It is not immediately clear whether the FAA plans to appeal the ruling.

Even without an appeal, it is likely that drone hobbyists will only see a brief reprieve from the registration process. South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune is expected to address the issue with current law in the coming weeks, including the technicality which allowed the current system to be shut down.

This new regulation could go even further, mandating that manufacturers develop some kind of identification system so that law enforcement can identify who is flying drone aircraft even when the pilot is not visible. The FAA is reportedly looking into methods to make this feasible.

Friday’s ruling does not prevent the FAA from doing so, as it only addresses the contradictions with current law. The FAA said it is currently reviewing the ruling and is weighing future options.

“The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats,” it said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Emerging Tech

New ‘parkour’ video shows Boston Dynamics robot training to overthrow humanity

Robots doing backflips? That's so 2017! In its latest jaw-dropping YouTube video, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot pulls off some frankly astonishing parkour stunts for our viewing pleasure.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Deals

The best iPad deals for October 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for September 2018.
Photography

From filters to mounts, these 16 GoPro accessories help you shoot all the action

A GoPro is only as good as the tools you use with it. Here, we've rounded up the best GoPro accessories currently available, from rotating time-lapse mounts to a wearable camera harness for your best friend.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.
Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…
Emerging Tech

Check out the British Army’s beefy new bomb-disposal robot

The British Army is about to get an impressive new explosive ordnance disposal robot that is able to climb stairs, negotiate slopes, cut wires, and … oh, yes, dispose of bombs, too.
Emerging Tech

Kill it before it lays eggs! Crazy 32-leg robot moves like a cyborg sea urchin

We’ve seen one-legged, two-legged, four-legged and even six-legged robots, but researchers from Japan have gone way, way further with their latest project: A 32-legged robot. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Leafy greens are grown by machines at new, automated Silicon Valley farm

Farming hasn't changed too much for hundreds of years. Now a new startup called Iron Ox has opened its first automated hydroponics farm, producing a variety of leafy greens tended by machines.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.