More than 1 million drones registered with the FAA

More than 1 million drones are now registered with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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The majority of the drones, approximately 878,000 devices, are operated by hobbyists with the remainder being for public or commercial use. Hobbyists receive an identification number for each drone they own. Commercial and public drones are individually registered.

The database of registered drones is used to increase airspace security by identifying drones with their owner. The system also is used to notify operators of safety messages.

“The tremendous growth in drone registration reflects the fact that they are more than tools for commerce and trade, but can save lives, detect hazardous situations and assist with disaster recovery,” Chao said. “The challenge is to remove unnecessary hurdles to enable the safe testing and integration of this technology into our country’s airspace.”

Drone registration is required by law under the National Defense Authorization Act. Drone operators must agree to follow FAA rules and pay a $5 registration fee. Registration is valid for three years.

Drones in the database are between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds. Heavier drones must be registered as a traditional aircraft.