While mentioning the efforts by different organizations to accommodate drones in airspace, let’s look at the present regulatory context from European and international perspectives.
In 2014, DHL released a report on using drones for logistics. After a general presentation, focused on drone applications and working, the authors present the vision of DHL for four use cases: first/last mile delivery, rural delivery, infrastructure surveillance, and intralogistics.
EASA has been assigned by European Commission to develop two main aspects:
1. EU Regulatory Framework for drone operation
2. Proposals for the regulation of low-risk drone operations, key elements of the future Implementation Rules (IRs)
With a starting point in Riga Declaration, and building up on Regulations (EC) No 216/2008 (‘Basic Regulation’), A-NPA introduces three main category of operations.
As UAS technology and regulation evolve, more missions get added to the list of drone applications. Among the earliest to be identified were the missions related to the electric industry (e.g. power line surveillance, windmill inspection). Last month (February), the Oak Ridge National Laboratory released a 168p survey entitled: “An Early Survey of Best Practices for the Use of Small UAS by the Electric Utility Industry”.
Drones regulation is quickly evolving with a notable increase in complexity as more mission types appear, technology advances and public acceptability evolves. Complying with the regulation is complexe enough in a single country, and it gets even more complex for cross-border missions.
The EASA recently released some results from the “Drone Collision” task force. The goal of this study was to assess the potential risk to aircraft posed by drones of different sizes flying at different levels.