Recent developments in European aviation regulations mean that innovators like Amazon, Google and DHL will likely find a more permissive environment in Europe than in America. That environment makes it increasingly likely that Amazon and their competitor’s first delivery drone flights will be taking place in Europe, not in America
Europe’s claim to drone innovation comes as the EASA (Europe’s version of the FAA) released a new policy framework for dealing with drones. The agency has decided to treat drones as their own category of aircraft, rather than trying to squeeze them into the framework for manned aviation.
This doesn’t happen by accident, global innovation arbitrage is underway. Europe has decided to embrace innovation, as evidenced by the “Riga Declaration On Remotely Piloted Aircraft (Drones).” In that declaration high-level opinion leaders from EU Member States and institutions, as well as international aviation organizations and members of aviation industry, stated:
Today Europe is taking a decisive step towards the future of aviation. The European aviation community gathered in Riga to exchange views on how, and under which conditions, drones can help create promising new opportunities in Europe, offering sustainable jobs and new prospects for growth both for the manufacturing industry and for future users of drones in all sectors of society. Drones offer new services and applications going beyond traditional aviation and offer the promise to perform existing services in a more affordable and environmentally friendly way. They are a truly transformational technology.
The aviation community at Riga established guiding principles for regulators. They focused on the need for regulators to treat drones as new types of aircraft with proportionate rules based on the risk of each operation and urged regulators to quickly create rules to value innovation and allow for drone services to be developed immediately. Those principles in the Riga Declaration are clearly reflected in the EASA’s regulatory framework
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com