Now that rulemaking for the Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft (Remote ID) has been finalized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a market for solutions that are compatible with the new set of regulations, set to become effective in the next two years, has opened up. One individual who recognized where the drone industry was headed and acted accordingly was Kenji Sugahara, CEO of Ariascend

Sugahara is one of the first individuals granted a patent for the broadcast remote identification of drones. The United States Patent Office recently released U.S. Patent 10,825,345 with the title “Devices, methods and systems for close proximity identification of unmanned aerial systems” on November 3, 2020. Basically, it calls for drones to have a “digital license plate” and was filed on March 9, 2018. 

InterDrone had the chance to catch up with Sugahara to get more insight on this development.

What inspired you to start working on this patent?

Back in 2016 I had been working with the Oregon Legislature and knew there was a need for some kind of way to identify drones in the air. I saw the frustration from law enforcement and saw potential issues with the public at large. I knew if something wasn’t done, that there was a much higher potential for self help. 

This means you were worried about drones being shot down. And you thought of a solution?

In essence I preferred someone going to the police rather than shooting someone’s drone out of the sky. I didn’t want my drone shot down. I also knew about Remote Identification from the 2016 FAA reauthorization and knew it was on the radar. I thought about potential solutions that were short range, easy to implement, and weren’t big-brother. I came up with the concept that is outlined in my whitepaper.  

What was the next step after completing your whitepaper?

I went ahead and filed a provisional patent without thinking much about it. Then I released my whitepaper a little later. Based on the whitepaper I was invited to be on the 2017 FAA Remote ID ARC.  A few weeks before the provisional expired I decided, heck, why not go for it?  So I ended up working with a patent firm and we filed the last day before the provisional expired. When I saw the final rule my jaw dropped.

Kenji Sugahara and Vic Moss are both a part of the Drone Service Providers Alliance. They’ve partnered with Women and Drones to answer any questions you may have about Remote ID. The webinar, moderated by Desi Ekstein, will stream live tonight at 5:30 PM PST.

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