- The Federal Aviation Administration has announced it will require owners of small, recreational, unmanned (drone) aircrafts to register their devices online for $5 per device by Feb. 19, with commercial drone registration beginning in the spring.
- This new online registration system, which is expected to be fully operational by early 2016, means "good news for engineering and construction firms that use such aircraft for business purposes," the Engineering News-Record noted, as companies will soon have an easier way to legally use drones.
- Unlike the new, expedited online procedure, the current drone registration process is paper-based and requires notarized documents from the aircraft manufacturer. Civil penalties for not registering will be as much as $27,500, and criminal penalties will include fines of up to $250,000 and three years in prison.
John Perry, CEO of Florida firm Altavian, which provides drones to collect data for construction and other industries, told the ENR, "On the commercial side, this really streamlines that [registration] process and reduces the regulatory burden."
Drone use is on a major upswing in the construction, real estate and related industries in both the U.S. and abroad. Plus, approval has been increasingly easier to obtain, and will be an even easier process with the FAA's latest move with online registration.
Drones have offered a sneak peek into high-profile construction projects like Tesla’s gigafactory in Nevada and the Apple 2 "spaceship" campus in Cupertino, CA, at the same time raising questions about safety and worker privacy.
In addition, Autodesk has recently invested in drone startup Skycatch, which plans to collect aerial data for Autodesk’s ReCap software to process and make it available to designers, engineers and construction professionals to use in their work processes. German startup FairFleet has also entered the drone game by launching a service that matches clients in construction, real estate marketing and media with a pre-screened drone pilot.