Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 took effect on January 1, 2024. This means that drones operating in the open category (with few exceptions) must have an integrated remote identification system. The following article is a guide to understanding the technical requirements needed to develop an effective remote ID system for all stakeholders, including users, citizens, law enforcement and government authorities.

What is Remote ID?

Remote identification, often referred to as remote ID or RID, is the process used to identify uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) from a distance. The service was created due to the difficulties of reading an identification number (similar to a license plate) on airborne drones in motion. It enables UAVs to be identified and to share their location data while in flight.

Remote ID is also an important collaborator with the mandatory U-Space service, Traffic Information. Remote ID is used to alert UAS operators to other air traffic, including crewed and uncrewed aircraft, which may be in their flight path vicinity. Traffic information provided using remote ID allows operators to access real-time information on the position, time of report, speed, direction and emergency status of other aircraft (if known).

Remote ID provides law enforcement, federal agencies and members of the public with the relevant technology to identify a drone operator during flight. The safety feature matches the digital serial number(s) with data held in a central database. This means that the above-mentioned parties can create records or report the drone if it is flying in an unsafe manner or an unauthorised zone. 

Remote ID has been or is being implemented by drone manufacturers, police and aviation regulators in countries including the USA and European Member States. There are two primary forms, direct and network:

Direct Remote ID 

Direct remote ID emits a broadcasting signal from the drone towards the ground for receivers underneath to read it. This process is mandatory in Europe as of 1 Jan 2024 under EASA’s Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and requires WIFI or Bluetooth to transmit the information to a receiver on the ground which reads the RID broadcast. The regulation categorises drones according to weight and other factors to receive CE marking, as shown in the infographic below. Drones with a C0 class marking do not require direct remote ID, but it is important to be aware of the requirements.

Murzilli consulting - the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's, class marking chart for Remote ID

Network Remote ID 

Network remote ID is an identification process that connects drones to the internet using an app or directly through an operator control station. It allows the drone’s data to be identified via an online system. 

The network remote ID solution's architecture has several components, including UAVS, remote pilots and regulators or law enforcement. Remote ID service providers (RIDSPs) are also an additional component for network remote ID in comparison to direct remote ID. The infographic below shows the high-level architectural elements involved in a network remote ID system:

Murzilli consulting - the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's, high-level architectural elements involved in a network remote id system

Network remote ID is required for all drones that intend to fly within an implemented U-space. The U-space regulation (EU) 2021/664 states that the network remote identification service must be maintained throughout a drone operation. This includes delivering information to law enforcement, government agencies and independent parties with the appropriate app. The service notifies them of information such as the drone operator’s registration number and flight-specific parameters like speed, altitude and direction.

The biggest challenge for network remote ID is the need for an existing infrastructure to support connectivity. Such infrastructure is already in place in the European Union, which makes network remote ID implementation within the EU reasonably smooth. Remote areas, such as deserts or forests, are where remote ID can be challenging. For these circumstances, the fall-back option of direct remote ID using broadcasting signals is necessary to fly unless it has been specified that the drone can be operated without identification.

As each country designs and sets its own principles, technologies, limitations and benefits for its remote ID solution, an additional option has been developed—the hybrid remote ID model. Switzerland has implemented hybrid remote ID, which uses both network and direct remote ID.

Murzilli consulting - the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's, pros and cons direct network and hybrid Remote ID
Murzilli consulting - the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's, pros and cons direct network and hybrid Remote ID

The Swiss U-Space Implementation

Switzerland’s successful remote ID strategy is one component of SUSI (Swiss U-space Implementation) and was created as a hybrid to implement both direct and network remote ID in Switzerland.

SUSI was founded by our CEO, Lorenzo Murzilli, who was the leader of the Innovation and Digitalisation Unit at FOCA at the time, in collaboration with the Swiss FOCA, the Swiss ANSP; Skyguide, and several industry stakeholders. During this time, the design, build and run phases of remote ID were created as one building block for the Swiss U-Space implementation.

SUSI provides a framework for the implementation of U-Space airspaces in Switzerland to create an ecosystem that not only complies with the regulations but also allows for growth and technological advances via its sandbox environment. It was launched in December 2018 and has ongoing stages of progress to continue to sustainably adapt to its dynamic ecosystem.

Why a Remote ID Strategy is Needed

Due to the steady increase of drones in the airspace, safety must remain a primary concern in any operation. Commercial drones have also become more affordable and accessible for services such as delivery, traffic control and environmental monitoring and mapping. The demand for more use cases, along with their safety requirements, formed the groundwork for remote ID in our skies. These factors will also increase the need for more countries to implement a drone air traffic control system, better known as a U-space. Remote ID plays a critical role in the U-Space framework and serves as a foundational element to ensure safe, secure and efficient integrations of drones into the airspace.

The increased digital visibility that remote ID provides is important for several reasons:

Murzilli consulting - the outsourced regulatory department for the drone ecosystem's, five reasons why remote ID is required for uncrewed aircraft systems

How Murzilli Consulting’s Strategy Services Support Remote ID Implementation

In March 2023, the UK Civil Aviation Authority began developing a strategy for future UK remote ID requirements for drone and remotely piloted services. Murzilli Consulting and Baringa partnered to support the authority with the structure.

Murzilli consulting and Baringa

Although the framework will look different for every country, Murzilli Consulting's prior advances bring valuable insight into these processes. Our consulting team can guide government authorities through the relevant criteria, which include scalability, data privacy, security, reliability and implementation.

Our services include a detailed evaluation of each remote ID architecture to align with the government authority’s drone industry and regulatory requirements. Following the evaluation, our team can advise decision-makers and stakeholders on the best-fitting technical architecture for their circumstances. These crucial steps are an integral part of our remote ID strategic consultation process.

Developing and implementing a remote ID strategy presents a specific range of challenges and requirements. This is why Murzilli Consulting’s remote ID strategy services are customised to ensure our clients benefit from a well-rounded and practical approach. Our team of skilled experts can support the effective development of a remote ID strategy to meet the expanding needs of the drone industry while maintaining safety, security, and compliance with the relevant regulations.
Contact me directly if you are a Government Authority or ANSP and need assistance or have questions regarding implementing a remote ID strategy: