The European Parliament has approved a new agreement on new, EU-wide rules which aim to ensure the safe operation of drones.
The new measures were initially agreed in November of last year by the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, and have now been approved by MEPs in the European Parliament. The rules aim to standardise rules which ensure the safe operation of drones at EU level, rather than the current system which is based largely on national rules.
The rules would take a wide-ranging approach to improving technology, and will apply to both drones – including regulations around design and operation – and to drone operators – including a requirement to undertake training before flying.
How will the rules affect the design of drones?
The new regulations approved by the European Parliament aim to ensure the safe operation of drones by mandating additional safety features, which will depend on factors such as the size, weight or area of operation of the drone in question.
For example, drones might need to be equipped with automated landing technology or collision-avoidance systems, to decrease the risk of accidents in the event that the operator loses contact with the drone. Restrictions may also apply to the altitude and distance of drone flights, to reduce the risk of such incidents.
How will the new laws impact European aviation?
In addition to these regulations, operators of drones above a certain size will be required to register their drones on national registers, to help authorities in the event of an incident. Based on this agreement, the European Commission will now need to develop more detailed rules to apply at an EU level, which will include additional regulations on maximum altitude and distance for drone flights.
The new rules come ahead of other changes to safety legislation in the aviation sector, and additional measures will aim to take into account the expected growth of air traffic in the near future, and will boost co-operation between the EU’s aviation safety agency and national authorities.