US senator to introduce proposal for drone geofencing

US senator Charles Schumer plans to introduce a proposal aimed at making geofencing of drones mandatory soon, in the backdrop of number of incidents of 'near hits' between the unmanned aircraft and regular planes.

The geofencing of drones would deploy GPS and other technology to impose geographical limits on their movement.

Schumer said yesterday he would propose an amendment as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill that would need to move through Congress this fall, to require manufacturers to have in place geofencing technology "or other similar solutions" on all drones to ensure they did not from fly in prohibited zones like airports.

The amendment had become necessary with reports suggesting that the current policy of the Federal Aviation Administration would be extended through at least 2016, without a provision for geofencing, Schumer said.

The technology for preventing drones from flying into unauthorised areas already existed and DJI the manufacturer of the drone that crashed on the lawn of the White House in January, had announced soon later that it would release firmware that would add a no-fly zone around much of Washington, DC.

''Sooner or later, a drone is going to hit a plane and cause real damage, particularly to the engine of a plane,'' Schumer (D-NY) told the Daily News. ''The shame of it all is that we know how to stop this.''

According to Schumer, the plan faced no opposition from drone makers who had already started to install the technology at low cost, or from hobbyists.

''This way you don't throw out the baby with the bathwater,'' Schumer said.

He hoped to amend a bill that would reauthorise funding for the Federal Aviation Administration for including the geo-fencing requirement.