China puts into effect new drone registration rules

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Thursday put into effect new laws requiring civilian drones over a certain size to be registered under real names, in an effort to improve the safety of its skies.

The country is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer drones, but the flying robots have come under growing scrutiny in recent months after a series of incidents caused flights to be disrupted across China.

Last week, police in central China arrested two men for flying a drone that captured images of a confidential target, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is taking steps to regulate and help develop the market and intends to create permits for uses such as filming and agricultural spraying, Xinhua quoted the CAAC’s deputy director of traffic management, Zhang Ruiqing, as saying.

The rules, which apply to drones weighing more than 250 grams, mimic similar ones in the United States, Zhang added. The U.S. market has 77,000 registered drone users.

Chinese owners of drones weighing over the weight limit will have to register their flying robots by Aug 31.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Vyas Mohan