The European Commission’s Commissioner of Transport, Violeta Bulc, and the Netherlands’ Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen kicked of Amsterdam Drone Week today. The commercial drone conference runs along side the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) annual high level meetings.
Before a global audience, Bulc and van Nieuwenhuizen laid out their vision for the future of drones in Europe, based upon a European standard of safety to support innovation, the EASA Basic Regulations.
“Drones are disruptive,” says Bulc. “Drones are challenging not only transport and aviation, but many other portfolios….what is really important is that we do it right from the beginning.”
Echoing the FAA and other regulatory agencies around the world, Bulc says that safety must be EASA’s top priority. “One thing that will be disrupted most is the feeling of safety and security on the ground,” says Bulc. “We have zero tolerance for mistakes… I’m excited because I believe we can do that.”
Bulc says that development in the areas of drone transportation, smart mobility, and commercial applications are happening quickly. “We have a new European framework, a new aviation architecture – and all of the numerous demonstration and pilot projects happening.”
“Don’t be too ignorant,” says Bulc, encouraging drone industry players to expand their views on drone applications. “Think outside of aviation.”
It’s a sentiment that van Nieuwenhuizen agrees with. “[Drones] will have a big influence across industries… smart mobility, smart maintenance… the ‘difficult, dangerous and dull’ applies not only to robotics but to drones. There really is not a single industry that will not be touched.”
Bulc is encouraging for stakeholders in hte drone industry, commenting that the European commission is cognizant of involving not only industry and regulators but also investors in the development process. “We created one regulatory framework in order to ensure that … investments have a predictable framework with which they can engage.”
Those investments, Bulc says, are meaningful: “This is an area where new opportunities are coming about on a daily basis…Through new drone-based services we can deliver help and services faster – that benefits citizens and society as a whole.”
Cora van Nieuwenhuizen is equally bullish on the European drone industry. “We have 500 European consumers: if we can set the standard here the rest of the world also opens to us,” she says.
Bulc ended the keynote by emphaizing that the time for industry to begin to realize its potential has come. Urban air mobility, smart cities, drone transportation, and other commercial applications are ready for implementation.
“Deliver, deliver, deliver,” she says. “We’ve spent 4 years putting [the framework] together, now is the time to deliver.”
“I hope by the end of my mandate in 2019 I will fly.”
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.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.