Monday, 14 April 2014

EU Commission to regulate civil RPAS

The EU Commission announced the intention to develop standards on the use in civilian airspace of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), commonly known as “drones”. The standards will include safety, privacy and data protection, security, liability and insurance, and streamlining of Research and Development (R&D).

Safety standards will be developed mainly by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which has already regulatory authority for RPAS heavier than 150 kg, according to Regulation 216/2008.

Privacy and data protection, regulated in the EU mainly by Directive 95/46/EC, aim at specifying rules and procedures on private data collection, use and storage.

Security standards will aim at the protection of information streams between the control station and the aircraft, as well as the establishment of rules and procedures for the actors involved – States, operators, Air Traffic Services providers, communication service providers etc.

As to liability and insurance, the Commission will focus on the possible amendments of the existing minimum aviation insurance rules under Regulation 785/2004, which currently concern manned aircraft with maximum take-off mass over 500 kg.  

Concerning R&D, efforts will include coordination with the SESAR Joint Undertaking (of the EU, Eurocontrol and the industry) on ATM modernisation in Europe and possibly financial support to the industry for the development of new technologies under the Horizon 2020 and COSME programmes.

The Commission is going to conduct in 2014 an assessment of the current regulatory framework and the respective needs and afterwards will likely proceed to a legislative proposal.

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