The French Government has said all drones should be fitted with signalling lights and a new law mandates beacons on all unmanned aircraft.
The law, which said beacons and lights were made compulsory, was made as part of a recent amendment to France’s Post and Electronic Communications Code. It will come into force in July this year.
All drones weighing 800g or more would require these signalling lights and the proposed beacon will run on the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi spectrum allocation and transmit data.
“The signalling message takes place in the payload part of the Wi-Fi frame 802.11n. The message corresponds to an 802.11n Wi-Fi frame running over a wireless network in AD HOC” the proposal said.
The message payload should also include a code for the drone’s manufacturer; the drone’s unique serial number; its latitude and longitude; altitude; the latitude and longitude of its take-off point; its speed; its heading; and a timestamp for all the above.
The unique manufacturer code will be issued by French authorities and each message is expected to be broadcast at intervals no greater than three seconds.
The light fitted on the drone will have to be visible from 150 metres away and should flash ‘U’ in Morse code.
The light must not use any of the colours presently used for manned aviation, and therefore will not be using the colours red, white or green. The proposal also states that a single beacon will be acceptable for a swarm of drones.
This move will be closely monitored by other governments who are looking at implementing drone laws. Registration of all drones and lights on drones are a possibility in British and other legislations. Aviation safety remains a concern everywhere and France’s new law could soon be implemented in other countries too.
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