Drones: Agreement on new EU-wide rules ‘to boost safety and privacy’
The first ever EU-wide rules for the civil use of drones were agreed by European Parliament and European Council negotiators on November 30 2017.
Currently, drones lighter than 150kg, which is in fact most of them, fall under the jurisdiction of national authorities and therefore EU manufacturers and operators are subject to different design and safety requirements.
According to the informal agreement reached on November 30, the design and manufacture of drones will have to comply with EU basic requirements on safety, security and personal data protection.
The European Commission is tasked with defining more specific requirements, for instance on what kind of drones should be equipped with features such as altitude limits, maximum operating distance, collision avoidance, flight stabilisation and automated landing.
EU countries will need to ensure that operators of drones that can cause significant harm to people, that is, by crashing into them, or present risks to privacy, security or the environment, are registered.
These drones will also need to be individually marked to be easily identified.
“The aim is to provide a uniform level of safety across the EU and greater clarity to drone manufacturers and operators to help in boosting the sector,” the European Parliament said in a statement announcing the agreement.
The agreed regulation also updates EU safety legislation for the aviation sector.
“With air traffic set to double in the next decades, the aim is to create a more flexible, risk-based system at EU and member state levels, which allows potential threats to be identified earlier, while maintaining a high level of safety and ensuring that European industry remains competitive,” the statement said.