Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), more commonly known as drones, have been around for a number of decades now. Originally only used by the military, drones have overtime become commercially available to the public and, considering the popularity that drones enjoy not just for recreational but also commercial use, it is hard to imagine a world without them. However, the amount of drones that soar through our skies for a myriad of reasons has rose significantly. It has come to the point that the law has not been able to keep up with the wide range of availability and usage of drones, but that is about to end.

New Regulations

In the European Union (EU), the responsible EU bodies are the European Committee and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Before 2019 there wasn’t one coherent drone policy. Instead, different types of drones were subject to different groups of laws and regulations. In March of 2019, the EASA introduced new drone regulations (Published on June 11, 2019). Since then, additional regulations and amendments have been added to them, a trend that is likely to continue for the next couple of years.

Both the recently introduced regulations as well as any regulations introduced in the future are EU level regulations. Starting in July 2020, these new regulations will come into effect and replace existing the regulations on the national level. Meaning that all of the EU will be subject to the same rule-set.

Some notable new laws are:

  • Any user of a drone exceeding 250 grams in weight needs to pass an online exam.
  • Any owner of a drone that produces over 80 joule of kinetic energy in a collision needs to register.
  • Individual drones need to be identifiable and chipped, so that they can be tracked whenever needed.
  • Depending on the drone type and its use, an user can be required to need a certain level of training before operating the drone.

These rules, as well as others, will be discussed during the Amsterdam Drone Week, hosted by EASA from 5 to 6 December 2019.

Drone Market Potential

This restructuring of the drone regulations is a much needed change considering the potential of the drone market. Official EU research expects that the air traffic in the EU will see a 50% increase over the next 20 years. By 2035, the drone sector will have directly provided over 100.000 jobs and have an economic effect of over €10 billion. The EU has announced its dedication to helping the drone sector develop in a responsible manner.

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