Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Some Colorado and Nebraska residents have contacted law enforcement about a mysterious nighttime formation of drones in recent weeks, and the Federal Aviation Administration has announced a proposed rule change to end such anonymous flights.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said Monday the agency and local law enforcement in northeast Colorado and western Nebraska have not identified the operator of six to 10 drones seen in the area from 7 to 10 p.m. over the past two weeks.
The drones unsettled residents, leading to calls to local law enforcement. Authorities said, though, the drones most likely are not breaking the law and don't appear to be malicious.
The owner of Great Lakes Drone, one of the few companies with FAA permission to operate multiple drones at night, said he cannot figure out whose drones they are or why they would be flying in the area.
"It's the talk of the drone community," company owner Matt Quinn said.
The FAA announced last week that its new rule would require drone owners to have their aircraft able to be identified remotely, removing any mystery about operators.
The FAA published the proposed rule update in the Federal Register Dec. 26, with public comments accepted until March 2.
"Remote ID technologies will enhance safety and security by allowing the FAA, law enforcement, and federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction," U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement last week.
The FAA said requiring remote identification technology will help keep up with the quickly growing drone industry, which has reached nearly 1.5 million of the aircraft that are owned by 160,000 remote pilots.
"As a pilot, my eye is always on safety first," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. "Safety is a joint responsibility between government, pilots, the drone community, the general public and many others who make our nation so creative and innovative."