While the FAA and drone users in the US continue to engage in regulatory tug-of-war, the growth of the UAV sector is making progress across the globe. Whether it’s a “drone scare” in France, better aerial mapping in Italy or even a drone-sparked Balkan brouhaha, the presence of UAVs on the world stage is likely to be a sign of progress as well as a source of governmental tension for decades to come.
In the United Arab Emirates, the government is taking quick steps to draft comprehensive UAV rules.
Last week, the nation’s General Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement outlining plans to adopt proposals based on a 2013 study. The proposal will include no-fly zones for airports, restricted military spaces and some populated communities.
“The certification of domestic drone operation and usage of drones will have a positive impact and it will enhance the growth of the national economy and give more attention to the civil aviation sector,” the GCAA stated.
The proposal will also “control the import and distribution of these aircraft on the local market, develop licensing criteria for the users of large-scale and advanced UAVs, and establish permissible heights and zones for flying.”
“GCAA promotes modern aviation-related technologies and state-of-the-art innovations within the scope of national legislation, which ensures safe aviation,” GCAA Director General Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi said.
“As a legislative and supervisory agency of aviation safety and security in the UAE, we formed a national committee to conduct a comprehensive study to lay down detailed laws and legislation for these modern systems of drones. These will be added to the regulations currently in place, which prevent the use without prior permission from the GCAA, in coordination with the local aviation authorities.”
The UAE has fostered a pro-drone environment for some time. Last month, Dubai hosted the “Drones for Good Challenge” – a competition “dedicated to transforming these exciting technologies into practical solutions for improving people’s lives today.”
The award competition pitted 800 teams from nearly 60 countries. Flyability – dubbed “the world’s first collision resistant drone for search and rescue,” took the international award of $1 million AED ($272,000 USD).
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed believes that technology should be used for the good of people and in the service of the people, and that governments should be the first to adopt the latest technologies,” said H.E. Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
“We want to reach to people before they reach us. We want to save time, to shorten distances, to increase effectiveness and to make services easier,” added Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Meanwhile in India, the potential of drone systems to enhance the national economy has taken hold in the media. In a recent article, the Times of India waxed poetic about drone fever: “From hand-launching UAVs to unmanned combat aerial vehicles, remotely piloted flying is the buzzword among domestic and foreign companies.”
Nihar Vartak, co-founder of Asteria Aerospace, told the Times:
“UAVs are the future and are set to redefine the way we live. It’s not restricted to defense. I see this machine doing a lot more to assist governments in helping victims of natural disaster or getting real time data on natural resource management as well. Also, if an oil or power company wants to do a real-time inspection of its pipelines stretching over thousands of kilometers, such UAVs go a long way in addressing their needs.”
As reported earlier by DRONELIFE: “Nearly a dozen-odd startups around the country are quietly assembling drones. They have collectively put over 300 drones of different shapes and sizes in the air. And if enthusiasts are to be believed, there are as many drones with people who use it just as a hobby.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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