Alphabet’s drone delivery firm Wing disagrees with new US rules

Alphabet’s drone delivery company Wing has warned that the new US rules on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may have unintended consequences for privacy.

The government has said that every drone in the US airspace will need to broadcast their locations, as well as the location of their pilots, in order to “address safety, national security, and law enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these aircraft into the airspace of the United States”.

Remote identification (RID) is a crucial technology that can provide the identity and location of a drone, validate transparent and safe operations for governments, law enforcement, community members and operators alike.

“Unfortunately, the final rule, unlike existing international standards, does not allow the use of equally effective network remote ID, and requires all UAS, no matter the use case, to use “broadcast” RID,” Wing said in a statement on Friday.

“This approach creates barriers to compliance and will have unintended negative privacy impacts for businesses and consumers”.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) las week issued big set of changes to US drone law since the agency first took an interest in the technology.

In 2023, it may be illegal for companies to fly some drones at all unless they retrofit them with their own broadcasting equipment.

Wing said that “American communities would not accept this type of surveillance of their deliveries or taxi trips on the road. They should not accept it in the sky”.

“Over the next 18 months, we urge the FAA to expand the pathways by which an operator can comply with the FAA’s remote ID requirements, enabling compliance through broadcast or network technologies,” the Alphabet company said.

With 1.2 million hobby drones already registered in the U.S., hobbyists, model aircraft builders/operators and educators will continue to be a gateway for millions of people into the world of aviation.

“They are critical to the future of aerospace innovation, and we encourage the continued support of this community,” Wing added.