While regulations of unmanned flight are still emerging and somewhat lacking in Europe, things could always be worse if you’re looking to build a drone business, as demonstrated in India.
How to differentiate a bona fide drone from a rogue one? That’s the key challenge being faced by the Indian government before it will allow commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. More than a year after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian aviation regulator, came out with draft norms for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), the civil aviation and the home ministries are still discussing ways to put in a robust framework to regulate them. There are still apprehensions about drones, with the issue of tracking them remaining a major technological challenge. This is the same in Europe, where strict regulations allow for some economic activity, something that is impossible in India.
Amid concerns over security, government had banned the use of UASs, including drones, by civilians in October 2014. In April 2016, DGCA came out with draft norms for UASs, including drones. Discussions have been going on within the government and among the stakeholders for quite sometime on the matter but the final result is yet to emerge. While stressing that regulation of drones would be done by the DGCA, Choubey said it would be in a manner that satisfies the security agencies.
In October 2014, the government had banned the use of UASs by any non-government agency, organisation or an individual. According to the DGCA’s draft regulations, issued last year, drone users would have to secure a permit and a unique identification number for their operations. “Civilian use of UAS includes damage assessment of property and life in areas affected with natural calamities, critical infrastructure monitoring among others. UA (unmanned aircraft) operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground,” it had said.
Globally, there have been instances of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles coming into the flight paths of aircraft, especially near busy airports, leading some of these countries to formulate rules to regulate these operations.
The same issues are true for our European market. Needless to say that a uniform way to track the drone air traffic is much needed, as is European legislation that allows more economic activities in different industries. In Belgium, for example, it is not allowed to spray crops with a drone. Neither is it authorized to let the drone fly automated routes to perform repeating tasks. Laws that will allow such activities will greatly increase the industrial usage of drones and economical growth of the drone industry as a whole.