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U.S. aviation regulator proposes tracking most drones

U.S. aviation regulator proposes tracking most drones

A drone is used to survey a corn research field in College Station, Texas, U.S., May 23, 2018. Picture taken May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. aviation regulator on Thursday proposed a rule that would allow for remote tracking of most drones in U.S airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, said the proposed rule would require all drones operating in the United States to be compliant within three years.

Congress directed the FAA in 2016 to issue regulations or guidance by July 2018 to permit the public, the FAA, law enforcement and others to remotely track and identify drones and their operators during flight.

The race has been on for companies to create drone fleets as a complement for online retailers.

United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) said in October that it won the government’s first full approval to operate a drone airline, which gave it a lead in the nascent drone delivery business over rivals Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O).

Earlier this year, Alphabet’s Wing, a sister unit of search engine Google, was the first company to get U.S. air carrier certification for a single-pilot drone operation. It is testing home deliveries in a rural area around Blacksburg, Virginia.

Amazon, known for its splashy drone delivery tests, also has won experimental certifications to test its drones.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler

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