The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched a new web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS), as part of efforts to safeguard the airspace surrounding airports.
The development follows an increase in drone use and significant safety risk posed by the devices in recent times, presenting a new challenge for the FAA officials.
According to a study by Bard College, around 921 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft in US airspace had occurred between 17 December 2013 and 12 September this year.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility.
"Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I'm excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation."
Owners of small UAS weighing more than 0.55lb and less than 55lb including payloads such as on-board cameras are required to complete the registration process by 19 February 2016.
In October this year, the FAA and IT specialist CACI International teamed up to protect the airspace in and around airports from UAS.
FAA will evaluate the company's technology to help detect the UASs flying close to the airport areas.
The CACI partnership is part of the larger UAS Pathfinder Program, which the FAA announced in May this year.
The Pathfinder testing programme includes studying drone use in a wide range of industries, such as newsgathering, agriculture and transport.