ICAO is asking countries to cooperate on international standards for unmanned air traffic management (UTM.)
At the opening of the ICAO Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Symposium in Abuja yesterday, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu “stressed the importance of a globally coherent regulatory framework for the management of unmanned air traffic,” says ICAO, a specialized agency of the UN (United Nations.)
“If you consider a company envisaging a global drone fleet to enhance its deliveries, the value of having a myriad of domestic national regulations aligned via globally harmonized international standards becomes clearly apparent,” President Aliu remarked.
While acknowledging the challenges and pressures to work quickly, the president stressed safety. “States are facing increasing pressure to open the door widely for unmanned aircraft, and while their socio-economic benefits seem clear, we must avoid the tendency to rush headlong into unmanned aircraft system operational frameworks which have not benefitted from all due diligence and the careful regard required for existing airspace users.”
ICAO recently asked for proposals for UTM frameworks, which will be reviewed by an advisory group for viability. Those recommended will be presented at ICAO’s upcoming industry conference, DroneEnable.
The ICAO leader acknowledged that implementing UTM systems would tax the resources of many countries, and promised that his organization would help to find solutions for this problem. Dr. Aliu added his comments that he believed drone technology would enhance the lives of many people.
“We are already seeing new businesses and humanitarian operations leveraging these technologies and the opportunities they offer. This is occurring in ways that we had not envisioned even just a decade ago, and this evolution and innovation will only continue as more and more people allow their imaginations to take off, literally and figuratively,” he 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.