Extracts from AUVSI amicus brief, RID, vs Tyler Brennan and Raceday Quads

Who knew the anonymous tip line would be so busy. This case is due to be heard on December 15th 2021.

I have pulled a couple of bits out that instantly caught my eye and the entire document is there for your reading pleasure.

Petitioners decry the FAA’s remote ID proceeding as a “sham,” and claim that
it produced an arbitrary rule that defies the will of Congress and fails to advance
aviation safety. Pet. Br. 14. In reality, this proceeding was an essential, and
expected, a component of a broader effort to integrate drones into the airspace
pursuant to multiple Congressional mandates.

The rules that the FAA adopted were properly teed up in the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), 84 Fed Reg. 72,438 (Dec. 31, 2019) (JA125), were well-supported by the voluminous record amassed in the proceeding, and serve as an essential step to enable the kind of expanded drone operations that will garner significant public benefit. In fact, the rules ultimately adopted by the FAA were more modest in scope than those that had been proposed in the NPRM.

Given the critical importance of remote ID to widespread and expanded drone
deployment, a large number of stakeholders in the drone industry—including
AUVSI and many of its members—were active participants in the FAA’s
proceeding. These commenters included companies, associations, and research
institutions that have significant experience with building, deploying, and operating
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drones, and their comments provided thorough and nuanced analysis about the need
for remote ID and the best way to implement it. The expansive record they helped
to create demonstrated the importance of remote ID to the future of the drone
industry and provided support for particular policy choices that the FAA made in the
Final Rule, including the adoption of a single-tier broadcast remote ID framework
and the use of geometric altitude, among others.

Numerous drone industry participants discussed the foundational importance
of implementing remote ID to ensure safe and secure drone operations, and the need
for the FAA to take action in the proceeding below. See, e.g., Comments of AUVSI,
FAA-2019-1100-43205, at 1 (Mar. 1, 2020) (Add.18) (“AUVSI Comments”);
AT&T Comments at 2 (Add.2); Comments of Lockheed Martin Corp., FAA-2019-
1100-49902, at 1 (Mar. 2, 2020) (Add.19) (“Lockheed Martin Comments”);
Comments of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Mid-Atlantic
Aviation P’ship, FAA-2019-1100-51738, at 1-2 (Mar. 3, 2020) (Add.22-23)
(“MAAP Comments”); Wing Aviation Comments at 4 (Add.11).

Drone industry participants emphasized that the crucial safety and security
benefits provided by remote ID would facilitate widespread drone operations,
including beyond visual line of sight, flights over people, and flights at night. See,
e.g., Comments of Aerospace Indus. Assoc., FAA-2019-1100-50889, at 2 (Mar. 2,
2020) (Add.30) (“AIA Comments”); Comments of AiRXOS, Inc., FAA-2019-1100-
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50167, at 1 (Mar. 2, 2020) (Add.31) (“AiRXOS Comments”); Comments of Amazon
Prime Air, FAA-2019-1100-36349, at 1 (Mar. 2, 2020) (Add.35) (“Amazon
Comments”); AT&T Comments at 2 (Add.2); UPS Comments at 3 (Add.6);
Comments of Verizon & Skyward, FAA-2019-1100-50346, at 1 (Mar. 2, 2020)
(Add.40); Wing Aviation Comments at 4 (Add.11).

Commenters also emphasized the extent to which remote ID will drive public
acceptance of widespread drone operations, which is a critical aspect of drone
integration that must accompany sound regulatory policy. See, e.g., AUVSI
Comments at 1 (Add.18); MAAP Comments at 1 (Add.22); UPS Comments at 3
(Add.6). The record further showed that remote ID will set the stage for a future
drone traffic management system that will fully integrate drones into the national
airspace. See, e.g., Wing Aviation Comments at 4 (Add.11); Lockheed Martin
Comments at 2 (Add.20); see NPRM, 84 Fed. Reg. at 72,439 (JA126).

While there was disagreement about whether broadcast or network-based
remote ID provided the best path forward, a number of industry comments addressed
the significant complexities—concerning both operations and implementation—of
networked remote ID, i.e., remote ID that required the operator to maintain an
internet connection to transmit information about the aircraft and its operator to a
central service provider. One of these complexities, according to industry
commenters, is that internet access is often unreliable in remote locations, after
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natural disasters, and on federal government test range sites. See, e.g., Amazon
Comments at 2-3 (Add.36-37); Lockheed Martin Comments at 3 (Add.21); MAAP
Comments at 3-4 (Add.24-25); UPS Comments at 5 (Add.8). Industry also pointed
out a host of other difficulties associated with a networked solution, such as the need
to be within range of network access points, having to troubleshoot connectivity
issues, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and an inability to retrofit existing products.
See, e.g., Comments of DJI Technology Inc., FAA-2019-1100-51823 (Mar. 2, 2020)
(Add.41) (“DJI Comments”); Lockheed Martin Comments at 3 (Add.21). Industry
comments also highlighted a number of benefits offered by a broadcast solution—
including a simplified infrastructure, a lack of dependencies on various external
steps and services, and tamper resistance—making clear that such a solution could
be a sensible policy choice for remote ID implementation. See, e.g., DJI Comments
at 21, 23 (Add.42-43); Lockheed Martin Comments at 3 (Add.21).
In addition to offering support for a broadcast remote ID solution, industry
comments helped persuade the FAA to revisit several other aspects of the proposed
rule. For example, several industry commenters voiced opposition to the FAA
proposal to require barometric pressure altitude measurements for the aircraft and
control station because barometric sensors are highly susceptible to error and most
aircraft and control stations are not currently equipped to measure barometric
pressure altitude. See, e.g., MAAP Comments at 10-12 (Add.26-28); Wing Aviation
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Comments at 18, 20 (Add.12-13). In the Final Rule, the FAA abandoned barometric
pressure altitude requirements in favor of geometric altitude and explicitly referred
to its review of the public comments opposing barometric pressure altitude as a
reason for the change. Final Rule at 4420, 4422 (JA33, 35). Additionally, industry

commenters were successful in urging the FAA to expand eligibility for remote-ID-
exempt FAA-recognized identification areas to include educational institutions, see,

e.g., AiRXOS Comments at 6 (Add.33); Wing Aviation Comments at 20-21
(Add.13-14); Final Rule at 4437 (JA50), and to remove the 12-month limitation on
applications to establish such identification areas, see, e.g., AiRXOS Comments at
6 (Add.33); Wing Aviation Comments at 20 (Add.13); DJI Comments at 76
(Add.56); Final Rule at 4438 (JA51).

The drone industry also voiced its support for other provisions that the FAA
adopted in the Final Rule, including allowing retrofitting of remote ID capability,
setting the size threshold for the remote ID requirement at 0.55 pounds, and allowing
the use of a session identification number as a unique identifier during flight, in order
to further enhance operator privacy and security. See, e.g., AIA Comments at 11
(Add.30) (supporting the option to retrofit); Skydio Comments at 17 (Add.17)
(same); Final Rule at 4431 (JA44) (permitting an operator to retrofit drones with a
remote ID broadcast module); AiRXOS Comments at 4 (Add.32) (supporting size
threshold of 0.55 pounds); UPS Comments at 4 (Add.32) (same); Final Rule at 4403
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(JA44) (setting size threshold at 0.55 pounds); AiRXOS Comments at 13 (Add.34)
(supporting the use of a session identification number); DJI Comments at 85
(Add.52) (same); Final Rule at 4417 (JA30) (permitting the use of a session
identification number to satisfy the unique identifier requirement).
The FAA’s Final Rule was thus the culmination of rulemaking efforts that
began when the FAA chartered the aviation rulemaking committee pursuant to the
Extension Act, and was supported by a robust record before the agency.

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