Mota Drone Company Explores Blockchain Integration

California-based Mota drone company wants to use blockchain technology to efficiently manage real-time drone flight data, and to make this information publicly accessible.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating drone use in the U.S. and is in the process of developing a system for keeping track of drones in flight. The proposed FAA drone tracking system would require drone pilots to publish their flight data to an online database. While in the air, each drone would be identified and tracked with a unique numeric identifier.

Mota’s Vision

Mota Chief Executive Michael Faro believes all drone flight data should be decentralized, secure and available to the public.

“Think of when we have hundreds of thousands of drones flying in one area at a time. That’s hundreds of thousands of eyes in the sky. No centralized place should have a monopoly over such data,” Faro says. He also thinks any crash data should be auditable. The Mota site states that a decentralized, tamper-proof database and expanding map of drone flights can increase drone safety. Faro explains that the system Mota wants to develop would be “much larger” than the FAA’s; it would be global, multinational and offer “freely accessible” data.

Mota was founded in 2003 and sells recreational drones along with professional models for commercial, agricultural, disaster response, energy-related, industrial and military use. Mota Group filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in October 2016.

In Other Drone News…

Walmart has also been working on using blockchain technology to track drones. It filed a patent in May 2017 for a computing system that would use blockchain to manage unmanned drone delivery data, called, “Unmanned Aerial Delivery to Secure Location.”

While drone regulations are still evolving, in November 2017, the FAA and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the creation of the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, which invites local, state and tribal governments to participate in developing new nationwide drone regulations.

Julia Travers

Julia Travers is a writer. Her work appears with NPR, Earth Island Journal, Discover Magazine, On Being and SciArt Magazine, among other publications. She's on Twitter @traversjul.

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