Regulators are worried that small, privately operated drones will cause disasters by getting sucked into jet engines or helicopter blades. So they're currently crafting federal rules for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Those regs will likely require commercial UAS operators to fly only during daylight hours and to pass regular exams to maintain their licenses, among other guidelines.
But in October, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it will be creating a much broader regulatory scheme, one that may require private citizens to inform the feds that they own drones even if they have no plans for commercial use. Under this regime, drones and UAS toys will have to be registered when they're purchased.
At press time, the specifics are not yet clear about who will be required to register their drones and whether those rules will be retroactive. A task force including government officials and representatives from the UAS industry has been assigned with hammering out guidelines.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Who's That Hovering?".