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How the New Regulations Impact Commercial Drone Usage in the EU?
EU has been in the process of forming advanced regulations regarding the use of drones. Understanding the implications of these pan-EU rules is essential for commercial usage of drones.
FREMONT, CA: The prospect of drone usage for commercial purposes presents a lot of opportunities. The rapid advancement in drone technology has led to the explosion of drone usage in Europe. However, the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are also giving rise to security and privacy risks. There have been numerous instances when drones have affected airport operations, inconveniencing passengers and resulting in losses for airlines. To mitigate these challenges that drone has brought about, Europe is taking an active stance, and regulatory bodies in the region are creating advanced regulations that apply to all the EU member countries. Previously, the European countries had their own laws that regulated drone usage. But uniform drone laws are a better option since they extend across national borders, making it easier for commercial operators to enforce the legislation.
Modern drones are much advanced than the military drones that have been in use for some time now. Today, the capability of drones, enhanced with the power of sensors, has become versatile. Besides, robotics capabilities incorporated into them have enhanced the functionality of drones to a vast extent. Drones have found application in agriculture, mining, broadcasting, goods delivery and many other such fields. This has resulted in an expanding market where drone producers and operators are raking in huge profits throughout Europe. To ensure that commercial use does not have negative impacts, the European Commission is in the process of adopting advanced regulations that will bring a lot of clarity into commercial drone use.
The rules will apply to all drones operating in the European region by June 2020, including private ones, irrespective of their weights. Under the new rules, drone operators will have to get registered before using the drone. The regulations have also categorised the drones into groups based on weight and risk criteria. The open category includes low-risk UAVs with weights up to 25kg, while the specific category includes drones that will require authorisations before being used. The third category is the certified category which includes the highest risk drones that are to be used in the delivery of items. Depending upon the class of drones, operators will have to consider the regulations and comply with them.
For those categories which require an authorisation, the regulations will mandate risk appraisal as per specific operation risk assessment (SORA) or other assessment methodologies validated by National Aviation Authorities. Just like vehicle users have unique identification requirements, with the new drone rules, drones in the EU will have to get registered with national authorities. These registrations will ensure higher security as identification of drones will be possible, in addition to making drone owners traceable. Managing drone traffic and controlling commercial use becomes easy when all operational drones are uniquely identifiable. The current framework also contains guidelines for the aspect of privacy. Commercial drones, fitted with high power camera, often pose risks to the privacy of individuals. With the regulations, operators have to ensure compliance with what is allowed and what is not.
The new rules might see further discussions and modifications before they are finally enforced across the EU by the next year. Europe currently leads the world when it comes to framing drone regulations, making drone application highly rewarding and safe.