Ireland is ahead of the US and the rest of Europe in requiring registration of UAVs, announcing a drone registry program this week at the Drones, Data X Conference held in Mayo, the Irish Times reports.
Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) director of safety regulation Ralph James announced that Ireland will have the first drone registration system in Europe. The system will require all drones and model aircraft over 1 kg (2.2 pounds) to register. This reflects a sharp difference from the proposed registration program in the US, which may require all drones over 9 ounces to register, including very small hobby drones.
The new Irish drone registry will be up and running by December 21st, according to James. Experts estimate that there are currently about 5,000 drones in Ireland; but like the US, Ireland is preparing for the Christmas season, when drones are expected to be a hot item for gifts.
James told conference attendees that the IAA had included a new app as part of the registration system, identifying both unrestricted and banned flight areas for licensed drone operators. The IAA currently has regulations in place similar to those in the US, requiring drone operators to follow regulations for model aircraft, and to obtain special exception licensing to operate drones commercially.
James said that the agency hopes that the new registration process and app will be “easy, realistic and acceptable” and will be used as a template for the rest of Europe, stating that Ireland hopes to be a “center for the drone industry”.
Privacy is one of the biggest public concerns about drones in Ireland, and the IAA is reportedly working with the police and the data protection commissioner on a “whole government approach” to drone use, James said.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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