The European Commission has proposed regulations regarding the safety, security and operation of civilian drones, a move that sets in motion an impact assessment on the use of drones.
The commission’s decision comes out of an objective to introduce drones into European airspace by 2016, which was passed by the European Council in December. After the assessment, the proposal can then be taken up by the legislature, which would seek approval of the European Parliament and member states.
“Civil drones can check for damage on road and rail bridges, monitor natural disasters such as flooding, and spray crops with pinpoint accuracy. They come in all shapes and sizes,” Siim Kallas, commission vice president in charge of transport, said in a statement. “In the future, they may even deliver books from your favorite online retailer. But many people, including myself, have concerns about the safety, security and privacy issues relating to these devices."
The commission has proposed standards that protect citizens’ privacy, and ensure safety “based on the principle that civil drones (remotely piloted aircraft) must provide an equivalent level of safety to 'manned' aviation operations,” the commission said in a statement. “The European Aviation Safety Agency, will start developing specific EU-wide standards for remotely piloted aircraft.”
The rules also set out a liability framework, and seek to streamline research and development work to ensure short lead times for new drone technology.
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently working on regulations governing drone usage in the United States.