In a short space of time, civil UAVs, or “drones”, have evolved from an object of curiosity to become integrated parts of our lives. These mostly small flying vehicles are already performing a wide range of missions from media and communications, inspection and monitoring of infrastructure, to precision agriculture, maintenance and transport deliveries. And ideas about potential new missions for drones are emerging every day.
The growing drone service industry poses a challenge for Civil Aviation Authorities as they must accommodate these new comers in the airspace, without endangering other vehicles in the air or people and places on the ground. Regulators can address this challenge best by sharing their approaches towards regulating this new category of air traffic and by taking into account the technological progress made by the industry in the field.
The role of technology in serving the regulation of drones was the topic for discussion at the GIFAS international chalet at the Paris Airshow on 21 June. The following speakers were invited to share their views on “technology at the service of (drones) regulation”:
All approaches were illustrated by coordinated presentations from the authorities and industry, showing how collaboration between the two could lead to balanced regulation, enabling the growth of the drone industry safely and securely.
Speakers agreed that a fine balance should be kept between regulation and the development of the industry, in order to ensure jobs and other socio-economic benefits. The regulatory framework should also be based on the most up-to-date knowledge about drone technology and anticipate the future R&D developments. Speakers concluded that these regulatory frameworks must also be complemented by performance-based airworthiness requirements for the drone and adequate airspace integration requirements.