The hundreds of thousands of Americans who bought a drone in 2015 face a key deadline Thursday. It's the last day they can comply with a Federal Aviation Administration mandate that they register their device without paying a $5 fee.
But one day ahead of the deadline, it appears that a sizable percentage of drones will not be registered. What's more, experts say it's not at all clear that even a successful effort will achieve the agency's goal of preventing a disaster from the reckless use of one of these devices.
The FAA requires consumers to register unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, that weigh between 0.55 and 55 pounds. The rules aim to keep track of the booming technology and prevent potentially dangerous flights around planes, airports and public events.
Earlier this month, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency was "encouraged" by registrations, which topped at least 180,000 as of Jan. 6. Users registered for free for the first month, but pay a $5 fee if they sign up after midnight Thursday.