Remote ID - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Everything you need to know

You may have heard of Remote ID (RID) as we’ve been playing with software and hardware to view drones and operator locations for a while now.

If you haven’t heard of it, in a nutshell it’s a technology that allows drones to broadcast their exact location, direction of travel, speed, altitude and the exact location of the operator flying the drone, live and in real-time.

The idea is for every drone, model airplane (even tethered UAS!) to broadcast its “digital license plate” at all times, allowing it to be identified by people or equipment that are not directly associated with the drone operator, with the intention of improving the ability to identify individuals misusing UAS and enabling enforcement[1].

In the USA, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) initially set a deadline of 16th September 2023 but recently extended this deadline to 16th March 2024. All new “ready to fly” drones that are sold in USA must have Remote ID support enabled as standard, or they cannot be sold.

In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the requirement for Remote ID already exists in Regulation (EU) 2019/945 and 2019/947, but is yet to be implemented. Yet… :grimacing:

The CAA, on behalf of the Department for Transport (DFT) are currently reviewing whether to implement RID ahead of the regulatory deadline, set by the UK government, of 01 January 2026. If a decision is made to implement RID, this will see the implementation of both the technology and regulation required to establish remote identification for UASs across the UK.

On 1st June 2023, CAA issued a 13 page Request For Information (RFI)[2]. The RFI invited potential suppliers / service providers to provide information on where the market stands in terms of the CAA requirements. At this stage CAA were part way through their Design Phase.

Subject to a decision to implement RID, the RID solution will implement the technology which enables UAS to emit data, which can be remotely captured, identified and accessed to determine information and data about a UAS and its operator.

One of the major changes that is being explored as part of the RID system is mandating that drones will not be able to fly unless Remote ID is enabled.

There are a number of ways to transmit Remote ID from your drone:

  • All modern drones already have the capability built in (eg. Any DJI drone made in the last few years)

  • Some older DJI drones will receive firmware updates to add support for Remote ID

  • Owners of self-built drones, and drones which cannot be updated by firmware, can purchase a physical Remote ID transmitter which they can then attach to their drones.

There are two methods of data transmission, for ease of understanding we’ll call them Direct and Networked.

  • Direct:
    – The UAS broadcasts its location and other data directly via radio waves, allowing anyone nearby to receive the signal and monitor the information
    – Anyone with suitable hardware, eg. a compatible mobile phone, can see the flight data

  • Networked:
    – The UAS sends its data via a digital network, such as Mobile Phone / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth, to a “Master Data Hub” (a central database)
    – That Master Data Hub then stores the data and makes it accessible to third parties via apps, websites and APIs
    – Those third parties could be law enforcement, or private resources such as Drone Scene
    – Think of this a bit like FlightRadar24

Also, much like FlightRadar24, there could be receivers dotted all over the country just listening out for RID broadcasts. I might put one on the roof of my house for example, and I could then feed any Direct broadcast data in to the Master Data Hub.

Shout out to Ian @UAVHive on X / Twitter, he of Gatwick-drone debunking fame, as he also been doing extensive research in to RID and has uncovered the potential for Remote ID collected data to be fed in to the Government’s SAPIENT[3] system.

Further reading:

  1. Source: Section 5.1 of ↩︎

  2. A RFI is a formal process for gathering information from potential suppliers of a good or service. RFIs are intended to be written by customers and sent to potential suppliers. A RFI is typically the first and most broad series of requests intended to narrow down a list of potential vendor candidates. ↩︎

  3. SAPIENT autonomous sensor system - GOV.UK ↩︎


My personal concerns over all of this?

As we have already proven, Remote ID is very easy to spoof. Open source software is publicly available which easily allows you to transmit spurious Remote ID data. We can spoof multiple drones flying randomly, anywhere we like.

The system is flawed before it’s even started :pensive:

It won’t stop bad actors. People who want to fly drugs in to prisons will either 1) Hack the drone and disable Remote ID or 2) Not use a RID-enabled drone in the first place :person_shrugging:t2:

Flight records will likely be stored forever, or at least a very long time. Is that a bad thing? No, probably not. I’m sure my truck registration plate has been scanned by ANPR cameras and stored in a database tens of thousands of times over the years.

My fear with the historically stored data is who will have access to it? Can any random member of the public access it whenever they like via CAA website? (or even via Drone Scene)

How will CAA fund the Remote ID infrastructure? It’s going to cost millions of pounds to develop, and millions more to maintain. Our registration fees are very likely to go up to pay for something we don’t want or need.

We will be forced to spend additional money on buying compatible drones, or certified beacons. These transmitters will not be subsidised by CAA like the ADS-B transmitters have been subsidised for General Aviation (GA) :roll_eyes:

Planning on building a sub-250g drone that’s compliant? Or making your old/existing <250g drone compliant in the future? You can probably forget that now with the additional weight of the beacon you’ll have to attach. And where do you attach it? These things are not small.

Your <250g drone is only except from Remote ID if it does not have a camera. It’s also worth noting that “legacy” drones will only require Remote ID from 1st January 2028 onwards.

My biggest fear with Remote ID however, is the live public broadcast factor.

We hear all too often of our Club members being approached by angry members of the public, accusing them of spying on their properties, filming their children, looking for lead to steal from the local church roof. The list goes on.

Imagine now, if every single flight you make is not only being broadcast to the entire world in real-time, but also the EXACT location of where you are stood. Suddenly Mr or Mrs Angry can not only see you on a map, but can also be guided directly to you by their smartphone.

This will expose us all to a significant risk of assault. Drones aren’t cheap either, criminals could use our location data for the purposes of theft or robbery too :cry:

It’s worth noting that the planned CAA implementation of RID will see the position of the operator broadcast to anyone within range of the Direct transmission method. CAA are not proposing the operator location be made visible via Networked transmission. I don’t think this solves the problem though, you’re still at risk of robbery or assault from anyone with a smartphone or a laptop that’s within range of your drone.

How will first responders feel about their location being broadcast in real-time? :thinking:

If the police are using a drone to track a criminal who’s just abandoned a stolen car, all that criminal needs to do is open an app on their smartphone, see where the drone and operator are, and quite simply run off in the opposite direction :man_facepalming:t2:

The press and media will love this though, imagine being a local news reporter and having instant access or alerts to a police, fire or other first responder drone being flown in your borough? That reporter simply needs to jump in their car and head over to the pilots location and they’ve got the latest scoop. The police have enough on their plate without having to fight off nosey reporters :roll_eyes:

In case you couldn’t tell, personally, I can’t see a single positive argument for Remote ID :confused:

What are your thoughts on Remote ID?

I’m interested to hear your positives and negatives :blush:


Exactly the same as yours Rich, unnecessary, open to abuse, downright dangerous to an individual going about his personal hobby…

The public don’t know that the ANA prohibits interference of a pilot in flight (manned or unmanned) How long before transmitters get grabbed from our hands?

How does this affect personal privacy? On this basis should every cyclist, hiker, dog walker, golfer etc. carry a transponder so they can be tracked?


I think personally in the right hands & the right hands only, ie caa / police for those who are using drones to commit offences & or disrupt airports or endanger aircraft etc :roll_eyes: No but seriously yes I have no problems with that, as safety is paramount & crime or drug drop offs just is not good which gives the legitimate drone users hobbyists etc the problem we face today, if it is used RID a bit like ANPR as we know it I don’t see a great cause for concern if your abiding the rules,

However, on the flip side with what you have underlined above with any old John doh or Karen’s or criminals / drone haters being able to pin point our location is just damn right :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: up & is & or will be mayhem imho, so if that’s how it maybe then I’m dead against all of it, another thing which is worrying, a criminal knows you have a drone ok, who might be able to point your location whilst your out flying, you may live alone & no one’s at home, in turn your advertising your out & the house & it is empty so go & help yourself mr or Mrs criminal, get home you’ve been robbed, it’s bad in many ways & stinks to high heaven, I think there’s to much bad that can or will potentially happen that outweighs the good of what it could be.
Sorry if I’ve not answered all your questions just my thoughts.


Rubbish, these people just won’t use RFID :man_shrugging:

Fair point :+1:t2:

Sorry, my misunderstanding in the drones that come RID ready which I thought you have no way of disabling, at least for now, but then yes, self builds or those that have not been updated to broadcast RID, yes I understand.

Taking that to the extreme, they’ll also know what make and model drone you’re flying, so if they see £2,500 quids worth of kit in the air they might just follow you home to see what other valuables you have there :see_no_evil:


Totally agree with you both, @PingSpike and @Steviegeek

67% of respondants to the CAA Surbey earlier this year said they didnt want RID, tbh I can’t help but think its going to be nothing more than a pain in the bottom, and perhaps also a means of raising revenue by issuing fines when anyone makes a mistake - inadvertantly hit 401ft above ground level and you get an automated fine, fly behind a tree or a building and another fine?

Add in the issue that any idiot out there with a smart phone can potentially track your drone and find you - to hurl abuse, assault or to rob you of your kit - and it is another disincentive to fly…

Can’t help but think those in charge are not acting in our best interests, but instead seek to persuade us to stop flying so they can sell the airspace to their mates for commercial deliveries… Or am I being a little cynical?


said with a smile :smile:

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It will be a great shame if and when they go ahead with this.

Of the purpose of this is for aircraft avoidance then I’d argue being VLOS already does this.

The fact that they wish to transmit the controller location as well tells me the intent is to prevent misuse of drones and fine the operators, and as said before - those willing to fly outside of the rules will simply get around the restrictions.

I understand there is unfortunately a minority who misuse drones - and I wonder if stricter licensing could dissuade those minority from flying.

I get the counter argument to this all. “If you fly within the rules then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about” but the operator safety concern is very valid. And it’s also just a very slippery slope - I’m sure their would be public outcry if they introduced rules requiring all cars to transmit their location, speed, and location history to a database which could potentially be publicly accessible.

Cars are far more dangerous and involved in far more crimes.

As many have asked, just how many valid drone incidents are there which could’ve been avoided by these regulations? What’s the justification? Councils can’t just put up speed cameras unless there is a history of speed related incidents on a stretch of road.

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Sorry I’m not trying to back track here on what I said above, I was just trying to pull the maybe positives out of it if it was definitely going ahead, but in all honesty as many of you I am dead against it 101% for many reasons I pointed out in the call for input.
I was just trying to show some reasoning rather than just being rebellious, don’t mean to offend anyone.


Does anyone know if the same sort of rules are being applied to other ‘hobby’ fliers, including light aircraft, microlights, paragliders etc. ?

Or are the CAA just targeting drones ?

I suspect drones operated by emergency services will get some form of exemption, despite them operating heavier drones more likely to cause damage or injury if they crash :confused:

I am also against this for the personal protection reasons outlined above.

I cannot see how the authorities can use it to prosecute drone owners. I have my Operator ID on my drone but I cannot recall the serial number of my drone (or it’s RID) being registered on any database that the authorities could access in order to tie my RID to me. Have I missed (or forgotten, as I am old) something?

I hope or I’m not going off topic here & I doubt this will make any difference to their already decisions but this is part of the email I sent when we all had our say,

When I leave my house in my vehicle, I am surrounded by CCTV, traffic cameras and APNR. Yet I do not broadcast where I am at any point in time to the authorities and/or the public. The same follows for UAS operators, we register our UAVs, we follow the Drone Code and we fly safely and responsibly. If the minority are flouting the UK UAV regulations provided by the CAA, the majority should not have to foot the bill. Instead, a more proportionate and logical solution would be implementing geo-restrictions zones for those areas that are deemed sensitive, much like prisons.
Broadcasting Remote ID is not only received by those that govern the air, but by anyone. There is a very good reason why a member of the public cannot access the owner of a vehicle by its registration number. To do this, they need to contact the DVLA. This way, both the owner and their location are protected. Why should it be any different for UAV operators, i.e., hobby drone pilots?
The role of the CAA is to ensure safety. Nothing less, nothing more. By introducing Remote ID, the CAA would be putting the UAV operators at risk, i.e., reducing safety. If the rationale behind the proposed implementation of Remote ID is to solve the minority who flout the rules, then this is not the solution. Again, the proportionate and effective approach would be to increase the use of geo-restriction areas.
These views are my own, but - as an experienced member of the largest UK Drone forum in the UK, with over 25,000 members – these views are shared by all UAV operators who simply want to enjoy the hobby, safely and responsibly. I would be grateful if you will consider this before implementing yet another rule that penalises those who are already flying safe and responsible.

This has not come into force yet @pcaouolte ( well not in the uk ) there are lots of talk & topics on this forum on the implementation of rid to be broadcasted in the uk in the future, it has been spoken about for quite some time now.

General Aviation (GA) is excluded. This is just drones / model / unmanned aircraft.

I’m afraid there are no exemptions or exclusions. Even tethered flying machines will have to broadcast publicly :man_facepalming:t2:

And it’s not physically / technically possible for the Direct broadcast method either, as there is no encryption.

The whole thing seems to me that hobby drone fliers are being subject to much stricter regulation than other airspace users.

Imagine if GA pilots were subject to a version of VLOS rules, required to maintain visual contact with the airfield they took off from, and not allowed to use their instruments to navigate with. Required to orient their aircraft solely by looking out of the window, rather than using their compass.

Imagine if ADS-B not only broadcast the aircraft position, but also the pilot and aircraft owner’s name and address.

And as others have already pointed out, these restrictions will only affect the law-abiding :confused:

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Which is just daft, eh? :pensive: