Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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56 unmanned systems inside   June/July 2016 AIR REGULATION more dedicated meetings and workshops. So far, Woods has not offered a specific end date. What's The Rush? So why all the concern about when the regula- tion will be ready? Foster herself answered the question: "Manufacturers want certainty," she said, "but there isn't any." We know from our own contacts with drone makers, and perhaps even more importantly with drone operators, such as Museum of London Archaeology in the UK, that the lack of a coherent regulatory framework across Europe constitutes a real obstacle, adding bu- reaucratic hurdles and administrative costs. In Europe, commercial operators have to seek permissions and certifications separately in different European states, or in some cases, they simply operate without any regulatory framework at all. For manufacturers, a new EU regulation is expected to include a clear set of industry stan- dards, determining the future configurations of their machines. At the very least, knowing if and when the EU RPAS regulation will come into effect would give both operators and manufactur- ers a clearer view of what the future holds and possibly a greater sense of confidence. It also would allow potential venture capitalists to plan their investment strategies with some level of assurance. Best Intentions For his part, European Commission repre- sentative Koen De Vos, whose General Di- rectorate MOVE (the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport) is coordinating the RPAS regulation initiative, has remained cautious when asked about a timetable, sug- gesting potential investors should act now and not wait for the regulation. "This technology is disruptive for business but also for regulators," De Vos said, perhaps to explain why the development of the regulation has not been as rapid as expected. The original target date for Europe's RPAS legislation pack- age was 2016. "The Commission is about political princi- ples, but it will be the EU Council and Parlia- ment that ultimately adopt the rule," he said. "And don't expect a law 'boom!'—one shot, and all problems solved." Industry also has a roll in the process, De Vos said. "The Council and Parliament must accept the Commission proposal, which is based on the technical advice of EASA. But there is a third layer and that is working with the industry." Indeed, De Vos insisted, the drone industry is perhaps the most essential player of all. And the Commission intends to take all the time necessary to gather the views of all the inter- ested parties, including those in the drone sec- tor, through a series of meetings, workshops and special consultations. There is also an ongoing series of meetings with EU Member States, organized through EASA. "We want to make sure rules don't kill the technology," De Vos insisted. Photo courtesy of Sébastien Bertrand ( [CC BY 2.0 ( or CC BY 2.0 ( licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons "AS IT IS, WITH ALL THE HOOPS we have to jump through, we are already pushing it. For now we need full political approval—that means EU Council and Parliament negotiations. Once we have political approval then we can establish the rules." Ron van de Leijgraaf, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, representing the Dutch EU Presidency Flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels.

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