Europe’s civil drone rules
As drones evolve from military to civilian use in Europe and more so the wider world, they are soon populating the airspace and as such, rules and regulations that govern their use must be formulated to regulate them.
Drones hold the promise of handling our everyday day operations without the intervention of humans.
Therefore, the sales of civilian Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV) are anticipated to sky-rocket in the next few years to come.
Besides, the growth of this market is eminent as its use continues to grow with the advent of new and sophisticated technologies on the rise. However, the use of drones still carries plenty of risks and concerns over privacy are most notable.
With civil drone use quickly becoming a widespread reality, the European Union (EU) needs to come up with legislation to regulate them and ensure people’s privacy and safety are safeguarded.
European Aviation Safety Agency
In line with this, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) EU’s authority for aviation safety, has released a regulatory framework that calls for new regulations to be proposed.
If European aviation regulatory bodies have their way, this will see drones operations in EU becoming very permissive, far outpacing American regulations.
The pace at which the UAV industry is growing in EU is great. The potential for small and medium sized business opportunities has prompted the integration of drones into the existing mainstream aviation system in a safe and proportionate manner.
This will, in turn, promote an innovative and competitive drone industry in Europe, creating both jobs and growth. EASA having recognized this rapid growth in civil drone operation in particular European countries, they have gone ahead and proposed three categories of drone operation.
This includes open, specific and certified categories, this is dictated by the size of the UAV as well as its capability. The EU commission is promising to help European drone manufacturers to conquer the world markets as part of exporting EU aviation rules.
As Europe strive to set global standards with world’s first civil rules, the commission views that the upcoming aviation laws will ultimately create a European-based regulatory framework creating conditions for European drone producers to stay in the lead globally.
These laws are intended to strike the balance between safety, privacy, security as well as legal certainty.
As for the smaller and cheaper drones that are capable of drone photography as well as live streaming audiovisual content, the commission proposes a safety requirement to equip them with identification devices.
This will go a long way in identifying those operators who contravene privacy and data protection rules. In fact, it is required that drone operators should understand that the sole responsibility of drone operation lies fully on them and hence liability should be put into consideration.
Future of the drone technology
As the future of the drone technology advances, more commercial operations are expected to be accomplished using these Vehicles. This does not come without any challenges; the biggest challenge being faced right now is the public opinion.
People need to be convinced that drones are not a danger to them but rather useful tools that can help us in our day to day operational activities. The issue of privacy in regards to the use of civil drone operations is a factor to consider.
The use of these tools to collect data and information about people’s private lives for example by journalists or detective agencies may constitute the infringement of privacy. Therefore, the European commission proposes common regulation standards that must be adhered to.
In the EU, each member state is tasked with the responsibility of enforcing the insurance and third-party liability policies and monitoring compensation mechanisms for potential victims within their areas of jurisdiction.
Despite any risks involved in their use, the commission alludes that the drone industry is seen to harbor a considerable potential to create job opportunities as their rapid civil drone development continues to intensify.
In general, drone regulations all around the world are converging on specific operational standards and the attributes of these machines.
It is, however, hard to estimate the impact of this regulation as the use of drone technology is still new in the market and still growing. As additional use cases become clear, regulations concerning them will be refined time after time to reflect actual realities versus the intended ones.