Google, Amazon, and Walmart invited to help shape drone registry rules

drones faa refund registration fee flying drone
Lu Yao / Shutterstock
Determined to hit its November 20 deadline for recommendations regarding a new registration system for drones, the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday announced the members of a task force charged with helping to shape the government initiative.

A quick look down the list of 25 members reveals representatives from a range of companies and federal agencies, including Amazon, Walmart, Google, DJI, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Announced just last week, the registry is an attempt by the authorities to “build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” according to the Department of Transportation. It should also offer law enforcement a quick way of identifying drone owners in incidents where it’s not immediately clear who’s responsible for the machine.

Amazon has several members on the panel, including a retail expert who, together with representatives from Walmart and Best Buy, will likely discuss whether registration should be made at the point of sale, and if so, how to best implement such a system.

Expert knowledge on drone technology will come from individuals working on high-profile projects such as Amazon’s Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing, as well as DJI, currently the world’s biggest seller of consumer drones.

The panel will also advise the government on whether some machines, such as very small toy-like UAVs, should be exempt from registration if they are considered to pose little risk to safety, and in addition discuss whether a different system of registration should be created for commercial drone operators.

The move to create the new database follows increasing reports of reckless drone use that include flights near airports, national security scares, and disruption to firefighting activities.

Other efforts to clamp down on drone flights in restricted areas include the development of technology capable of intercepting a drone mid-flight, allowing the authorities to bring it safely down to the ground.

The government is determined to have the registry in place by mid-December so that its new database will include the million or so drone purchases expected to be made by hobbyists over the holiday season.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

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!
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on standalone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Outdoors

Best holiday gifts for the outdoor junkie on your list

Have an outdoorsy person on your list and not sure what they need? We've hand-picked our favorite outdoor gear with an eye towards the unique and useful. From high-powered headlamps to heated socks, we've found something for everyone on…
Deals

Free Shipping Day: Why it matters and where to shop

Free Shipping Day is here so if you haven't ordered your holiday gift yet, now is the perfect time to shop. Many retailers also have sales with this one-day offer. Order before midnight tonight, your order is guaranteed to be delivered…
Deals

The Super NES Classic is the perfect holiday gift for Nintendo lovers

Whether you're a long-time Nintendo fan looking to relive the 16-bit glory days or just doing some holiday shopping, the SNES Classic -- now in stock at multiple retailers for $80 -- might just be the perfect Christmas gift for gamers of…
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.