Australian drone pilots will need a licence from July
Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is to establish a drone 'flyer's licence' and mandatory registration for drones from July this year.
All pilots of drones weighing more than 250 grams will need to pass an 'online education course' and register their drone, as part of new laws expected to be in place ahead of the launch of a drone food delivery business opening in Canberra.
The rules will affect pilots of many popular consumer drones, including DJI's Mavic series (734g+) and Phantom series (1kg+).
Speaking to the ABC, CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the new rules will make it easier for police to track down dodgy drone users.
"It will certainly give us big advantages in terms of complaints or reports of drones being flown improperly or against the safety rules," he said.
The cost of registration is expected to vary for different types of drones and their use, with CASA estimating it would cost $20 a year for recreational drones, while commercial drone users will be charged anywhere from $100 to $160.
Drone flyer information will be kept in a database to track users.
The moves come as CASA prepares for an influx of drone activity, with Google parent company Alphabet prepare to launch a controversial food delivery business from their warehouse headquarters in the suburb of Mitchell in Canberra.
CASA says they are already working on a drone flight tracking system, with the registration announcement just one part of the monitoring puzzle.
"For the first time we'll have an overall picture of the drone sector … probably there are tens of thousands, possibly even 100,000, but at this point we don't know," Mr Gibson said.