With more drones flying than ever, authorities have decided that it is time to try and bring some accountability to drone pilots. You can fly relatively anonymously because no one can identify the drone or the pilot.
In the United States, the FFA has stated that drones manufactured after September 2023 will need hardware that broadcasts information about the flight, including the identity of the drone and flight information.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro does not currently have the firmware update required for remote ID capabilities in the US. However, some countries (like Japan) have received a firmware upgrade, and pilots are required to broadcast their ID during a flight.
It is only a matter of time before DJI rolls this capability out to all their remote ID compatible drones. DJI cannot tell us which drones will be updated next because the FAA hasn’t finalised and approved their technical standards document for remote ID.
Once the rules have been finalised, DJI will evaluate the hardware of each model and how it can meet the standard set by the FAA.
What is Remote ID?
Remote ID is the ability of a drone in flight to transmit its location and identification information that other pilots and people can receive.
Remote ID will be used by FAA, law enforcement, and other federal agencies to find the pilot and location of the remote control when a drone is flying in an unsafe manner or has broken a Geo fenced area.
The sorts of information that will be transmitted include:
- unique identifier for the drone (identity of the drone)
- location and GPS coordinates
- control station
- time mark
- emergency status indication
- takeoff location
Using this information, authorised individuals from public safety organisations can request from the FAA the identity of the owner of the drone to follow up on any further fines or prosecution.
US compliance date
The final rule on remote identification became effective on April 21 2021.
The deadline for operational compliance by all drone pilots is September 16, 2023.
The deadline for all drones to transmit remote ID signals during flight is September 2023. Some exceptions include drones weighing less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams) or flying in special areas designated by the FAA.
Manufacturers and drone pilots still have until September 16, 2022, to comply with the requirements of the final rule and until September 16, 2023, to comply with the remote ID ruling utilising one of the three options above when flying their drone.
Whether flying your drone for fun, business, or commercial reasons, the ruling states that you must operate your drone following the final rule on remote ID. You have until September 16, 2023, to upgrade your aircraft or await the software update from DJI or your drone manufacturer.
DJI Mini 3 Pro and Remote ID
Although the DJI Mini 3 Pro cannot currently broadcast its identification, we suspect that they currently have the appropriate hardware because users in Japan have stated that it has already been activated in their DJI Mini 3 Pro drones.
Because the DJI Mini 3 Pro weighs less than 250 g, it will likely not need to broadcast its remote ID.
However, there are situations where you will need to register your DJI Mini 3 Pro and broadcast Remote ID:
- If you are flying for business purposes
- If you use the DJI intelligent flight battery plus, the drone will weigh more than the 250 g limit set by the FAA for remote ID.
- Attaching any extra third-party accessories will make the drone weigh more than the weight limit.
How to meet the new Remote ID requirements
If you are in the category of DJI Mini 3 Pro pilots who need to abide by the new remote ID laws, there are a few ways that you can satisfy the new regulations.
You can use the ID capacity built directly into your drone, broadcast a remote ID from an extra module, or fly in a recognised identification area so you don’t have to broadcast.
Standard Drone Remote identification
In this instance, the manufacturer builds the remote ID capacity directly into the drone. From 2023 drone manufacturers will have to consider how they will broadcast the ID of the drone.
With this new legislation, most drone manufacturers are already designing their next range of drones to include Remote ID broadcasting.
The sorts of information that the drone can broadcast via radiofrequency such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth include the drone ID, location and altitude, drone velocity, time mark, emergency status, and the control station location and elevation.
Remote ID broadcast module
In this scenario, a drone can be fitted with a remote ID broadcast module that is attached to the drone after purchase.
This form of ID broadcast is limited to visual line of site operations. The information broadcast includes drone ID, location and altitude, drone velocity, takeoff location and elevation, and time mark.
Recognised identification area (FRIA)
The last way to fly your drone within the new rules set by the FFA is in a recognised identification area. In this area, you can operate your drone without broadcasting any information.
You must always fly your drone in a direct line of visual sight, and anyone can fly there, but the areas can be requested only by community-based organisations and educational institutions.
I imagine these areas will be promoted online by such groups in the future.
Operators of drones are free to choose between broadcasting their drone’s serial number or a session ID.
The session ID is a uniquely identifiable ID that allows law enforcement or the FAA to correlate the flight with a unique drone serial number. This information will not be publicly available, offering privacy and security to drone pilots.
Standard remote ID drones may not offer the session ID option.
This article has covered everything you need to know about the DJI Mini 3 Pro and remote ID.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro does not currently have the firmware to broadcast its ID but is fitted with the firmware for this capability.
Unless you attach something to your DJI Mini 3 Pro or use the intelligent flight battery plus, you will not require a mandatory remote ID because your drone will weigh under 250 g.
However, ID will be required if it carries accessories or you use your drone for commercial purposes.