Drones delivering goods, acting as taxis and more took a step closer to reality in the UK last night after Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL announced in the House of Lords that New Drone Standards are to be unveiled this Spring.
These new standards are expected to lead to strengthened public confidence in safety, security and compliance within an industry that is set to be one of the fastest growth sectors in the world. These standards are set to release the true potential of this industry, which will revolutionise the way we live, and transform business sectors from transport to infrastructure, agriculture to medicine – across air, land, sea and space.
Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank introduced the standards on behalf of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Drone Major Group, whose founder and Chief Executive is Chairman of the BSI Committee responsible for Drone Standards.
The event was attended by BSI Chairman Sir David Brown, politicians including Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, and other senior stakeholders in the drone industry, including manufacturers, users, service providers, economists, academics and media.
The new regulations are likely to have wide ranging impacts on several sectors. For ecommerce, it is likely that drones are going to revolutionise delivery bringing new possibilities to freight and passenger transport on land, water and in the air, which will reduce the need for expensive infrastructure projects, reduce road traffic, ease congestion, save lives and reduce pollution in our cities.
Covered by the regulations aren’t just aerial vehicles, but also self driving ‘land drones’ too, so deliveries are likely to be shaken up with the development of self driving delivery vehicles.
Drones are also set to revolutionise the monitoring and security industries, with 24×7 coverage from an ‘eye in the sky’ being one of the many ways that anyone wanting to monitor or assess large premises and more can benefit from drones.
“BSI is playing a pivotal role in supporting the exciting global future for drones through its work on standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Standards accelerate innovation, boost productivity and enable trade, while promoting safety and consumer protection.”
Sir David Brown, Chairman, BSI
The key areas of growth in this young industry as these regulations come into play are that, first, there needs to be an education of the public around the positive impact that this technology will have on their lives, and not sow the kind of fear that preceded the introduction of the automobile which led to people having to walk in front of a car waving a red flag.
The wider drone industry, including the companies that are set to use them – need investors to get behind the research and development which will enable the industry to break through the barriers it faces such as ‘operations beyond visual line of sight’, the integration of airspace, and the adoption of multi environment systems (from air to land to sea and beyond).
And finally, governments worldwide need to stand firmly behind the drone industry to ensure that it is not choked by over regulation and to work together to find effective ways to promote responsible use, without stifling a great new sector which has the potential to make such an important contribution to the wellbeing of people and businesses throughout the world.
“Drones are bringing new possibilities to freight and passenger transport on land, water and in the air, which will reduce the need for expensive infrastructure projects, reduce road traffic, ease congestion, save lives and reduce pollution in our cities. In addition, this transport revolution will allow workers to live further outside the cities, reducing the pressure on housing and spreading wealth to the regions. In this single area alone, the benefits that drones bring are compelling.”
Robert Garbett, Chairman, BSI Committee on Drone Standards