Drone’s remote identification system in Spain

From 1 January 2024 it is mandatory to incorporate Drone’s remote identification system (only some of them), also called DRI (Direct Remote Identification), according to the European UAS regulation, namely EU Delegated Regulation 2019/945, after the end of the famous ‘transitional period’.

The transitional period of the drone regulation is the ‘transit or transition’ period between the new national regulations and the European regulations. Not that the change will be 100%, so in one way or another, we will continue with this mix of the two.

Remote identification for drones or drone’s remote identification system, which is what I will talk about here, will affect us in that it will force us to be identified, in some way, while our drone is flying.

This remote id. is closely related to the drone class marking and this can sometimes induce errors and doubts in some pilots. I will try to make everything clear to you in this article.

What is the Drone’s remote identification system?

We could say that this Drone’s remote identification system (DRI) system is like the number plate of our drone, and it is a unique and non-transferable number. It consists of our drone operator registration number + 3 security digits (ESPxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxx-xxx).

This number identifies our drone and us when we are performing a flight operation.

How the Drone’s remote identification system works

As I have just told you, this identification number serves as the registration number of our drone, and with the right technology, as I will explain later, law enforcement can get the following information:

  • Drone operator registration number and verification code
  • Aircraft serial number
  • Timestamp, current aircraft position, height above ground and takeoff point
  • Trajectory measured clockwise from geographic north, and UA velocity with respect to the ground.
  • Pilot position
  • Visualisation of a possible UAS emergency situation

In an explanatory talk that AESA offered in open on January 18 about remote identification for drones, Roberto Gándara Ossel, the head of training and technology services of AESA, answered a round of questions that were asked at the end of this talk.


Among some of them he was asked about what information will be public and visible to drone observers, and he said that the pilot’s personal data will NOT be provided but YES:

  • Drone height
  • Drone location
  • Pilot location

This obviously caused a stir among the attendees, who asked him why the pilot’s location is visibleRoberto only answered that “it is an European regulation and that there is little they can do, that they will be watching to see if there is any change regarding this, and that they will announce it as soon as they find out”.

Obtaining and visualizing this DRI will be possible through a cell phone application, Drone Scanner, being the Android phones the ones with more connection range, “this application is still under development”, words of Roberto himself.

How drone's remote identification system works

Which drones are (and are not) required to carry this Drone’s remote identification system works

The drones that ARE required to carry the remote identification system are the following types of drones:

  • Todos aquellos drones con marcado de clase C1, C2, C3 de fábrica que operen en categoría ‘abierta’ (A1, A2, A3) :
    • C1 with MTOM < 900 gr or < 80 Joules of impact (subcategory A1)
    • C2 with MTOM < 4 kg (subcategory A2)
    • C3 with < 25 kg (subcategory A3)

  • Cualquier dron que opere en la categoría específica que son de dos tipos:
    • STS-01, which is the category of drones operating in an urban environment.
    • STS-02, in this category drones operate in BVLOS (out of line of sight).

Drones that are NOT required to carry remote remote identification are as follows:

  • Todos los drones con cámara de <250 gr:
    • Of private construction
    • Legacy (drones manufactured before January 1 and without class marking):
    • C0 which are also called unlicensed drones (such as the Mini 4 PRO).

If you have a Mini 4 PRO and want to introduce remote identification you must contact DJI to upgrade its class marking to C1. You will automatically be presented with the option to enter the remote identification system works. You will also be able to fly over 120m (remember that currently the Mini 4 PRO has this deprivation. But, beware, it will lose the condition to fly freely in the city as it is no longer a C0 class marking drone. Keep this in mind!

  • Todos los drones de <25 kg (Estos drones solo podrán operar en subcategoría A3):
    • The C4 drones are drones intended for aeromodeling.
    • Private construction
    • Legacy >250 gr

Table of main requirements and restrictions of the drone's remote identification system
Photo property of AESA

External remote identification device for drones (DRI)

There are two ways to introduce the DRI in our aircraft:

  1. Because it already has integrated the device that allows to enter these digits with the software prepared by the manufacturer, . All drones with factory class marking have this possibility.
  2. Pero también hay la posibilidad de integrarle un dispositivo externo para conseguir esta identificación remota para drones. Los hay de dos tipos:
    • Without casing: For those that can be installed internally (by retrofitting)
    • Housing: For those who internally do not accept this reconditioning and will wear it externally.

The drones that are obliged to carry these external devices will be the drones that want to fly in the ‘certified’ category, and that do not have a class marking from the factory, so they will not have the internal device installed that allows the introduction of this DRI.

I repeat, they just want to fly in certified category.

EASA has provided a list of drones with factory class marking as of 25 October 2023. They are as follows:

List of drones with factory class marking as at 25 October 2023

List of these external devices declared compliant by EASA.

External devices declared compliant by EASA

Drone brands make software and firmware updates continuously looking to improve the product that is already on the market, adding new options and features to our drones, or also with the missive to fix problems detected in them.

If today for your drone does not allow you to enter the remote identification system worksI recommend that you do so and leave it already configured for future flights, but if with a software or firmware update it IS possible to introduce it. This way, you and your drone are immediately ready to fly quickly. In addition, it never hurts to be well identified.

Since when is the DRI mandatory

Drone’s remote identification system must be configured on the drone required to do so from 1 January 2024.

How to find the 3 digits of the remote identification system works

You can find these last 3 numbers in your AESA pilot profile by following these steps:

  • Dirígete a este link de AESA Drones
    • Clica en ‘Trámite online
      • Deberás escoger entre ‘Acceder a mi cuenta con o sin certificado
        • Select ‘Administrative data‘ in the bar at the top of the screen.

If you followed these steps correctly you will have reached your personal AESA pilot record, here you will be able to view your drone operator registration number.

3 digits for personal remote ID on drones in Spain

Below this number you will see a question mark (?) framed in a blue circle, just place your mouse over this circle and you will automatically discover these 3 digits.

How to introduce Drone’s remote identification system on your drone

Once you know what these 3 digits are, you must enter them together with the drone registration number via your drone’s remote control. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the DJI Fly app and go to the home (flight interface).
  2. Click on the 3 little dots on the top right hand side
  3. Go to the “security” tab
  4. Scroll down until you see the option Remote id – id. remotos UAS
  5. Here we enter our drone operator registration number + 3 digits remote id.

So much for the article on drone’s remote identification system, which is expected to be the prelude to more changes to come.

If you want to keep up to date with important changes like this, stay up to date with regulations and keep abreast of everything that is happening in the world of drones, subscribe to my newsletter.

Do you have any questions or do you want to share an opinion? Feel free to write it down in the comments below so that other users can participate and contribute more.

Bests!

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