The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted that somewhere around 700,000 personal drones (or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)) would be sold during the holiday season—the holiday season in which they rushed to implement a mandatory federal registration system.
This week the FAA announced how many actual drones have been registered with them since they actually lanched the system on December 21. That number: 181,000. That's about just a quarter of the drones that were sold for the holidays (assuming those estimates are correct). Keep in mind the new FAA rules also mandate citizens register drones they already own if they weigh more than the half-a-pound threshold. They can't even get new purchases registered, let alone previously owned machines.
They're actually still trying to work out point of sale registration for drones, according to Reuters:
FAA said it is working with the private sector on ways to streamline registration including new smart phone apps that could allow a manufacturer or retailer to register a drone automatically by scanning an identification code on the aircraft.
"As of today, about 181,000 aircraft have been registered," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. "But this is just the beginning. Now that we have set up the registration system, our challenge is to make sure everyone is aware of the requirement and registers."
Or, you know, sue the FAA, claiming it is exceeding its authority with such a registration system. A model airplane pilot in Maryland named John Taylor is suing the FAA, challenging its authority to create the registry. Taylor argues that existing federal law prohibits the FAA from setting up new rules or regulations for model aircraft flown for hobby or recreational purposes. Read more about his case here.