Robust and Scalable UAS Registration: Key Technology Issues and Recommendations
15 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016
Date Written: February 6, 2016
The growing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) ecosystem requires accountability of operators, availability of airspace, and security of communications, particularly a confidential, authenticated, and accessible registration system. The FAA’s recent launch of a web-based registration service starts the UAS registration system in an excellent direction. Nevertheless, the scope and scale of the system’s future capabilities remains a concern. The anticipated growth and diversity of UAS use suggests the need for a globally-integrated system more capable than today’s.
A robust and scalable registration system considers the right technologies for its organization, registration information, queries, and security as the UAS ecosystem expands. This paper argues that careful selection of current Internet technologies and protocols can help enable the creation of a registration system that serves present needs but will also evolve as technology advances. 1. Establish a thick registry with extensible UAS object and UAS actor entries in order to manage the complexities and scale of a UAS registry/registrar system. 2. Plan for the eventual separation of the registrar from the registry though the two should initially be a combined entity, in order to easily support the initial millions of users. 3. Begin with simple TLS queries, but plan to migrate to a system that can make use of RDAP helping the system scale to handle billions of queries. 4. Architect the system to allow for cryptographic queries in the future, similar to DANE, to help enable UAS to securely communicate with each other, other aircraft, and air traffic managers. 5. Establish a new PKI system, for secure UAS communications. 6. Adopt data encryption and PII standards. 7. Establish procedures for authentication of information sources, such as verification through a phone number with SMS verification or credit card information, which could be used in the near term. 8. Establish procedures for authentication of registry data, such as digital signatures for verification of authenticity against official, stored versions.
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