On 12 June 2018, the European Parliament approved new EU-wide principles for drones and drone operators to ensure an adequate level of safety and give operators and manufacturers a common legal environment across the EU that may boost development of drone based products and services and related business. The rules now need to be approved by the Council of the European Union.
Currently, drones lighter than 150kg fall under the jurisdiction of national authorities and therefore manufacturers and operators are subject to different design and safety requirements.
In Italy drone flying is regulated by ENAC regulation on drones, as amended form time to time (and recently on 21 May 2018), that defines drone categories, pilots qualification and different rules of behavior depending on the category of drones and on the flight environment.
Similar prescription will be required for the flight of drones across Europe by the new rules.
Then new EU rules, will have an impact on drones designs and equipments, that should be developed considering the risks for safety of people.
Based on risk related to, for example, the weight of the drone or area of operation, the drone would need additional features, such as automated landing in case the operator loses contact with the drone or collision avoidance systems.
In addition to establishing EU rules on drones, the approved rules update EU aviation safety legislation, in order to maintain the existing high level in the EU, with rules more adapted to the increase in air traffic expected in the coming decades.
Why is important
Civil drone technology could account for an estimated 10% of the EU aviation market within the next 10 years (i.e. about €15 billion per year). According to the European Commission, the drone industry could create some 150,000 jobs in the EU by 2050.