BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe’s aviation safety authorities have proposed rules for operating small drones that include requirements for geo-fencing technology to prevent them from straying into banned areas and a “dos and don’ts” leaflet to be inserted in retail packaging.
With demand booming, both for hobby and commercial use, European regulators have been looking for ways to ensure drones can be safely operated, while allowing the industry to grow.
Fears have been raised over the use of drones near airports in particular, with a number of pilots reporting near collisions with drones, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has set up a task force to look into the risk of drone strikes.
EASA’s proposals include requirements for drones to be remotely identifiable, to be fitted with geo-fencing technology to prevent them from entering prohibited zones such as airports and nuclear sites, and a requirement for people operating drones weighing more than 250 grams to register themselves.
EASA hopes such measures will address privacy concerns, as well as safety risks.
The design requirements for small drones will be implemented using the CE product legislation commonly used across Europe.
Along with the CE marking, drones will be identified according to their class, and a “dos and don’ts” leaflet will be in all product boxes.
“Based on the drone class, an operator will know in which area he can operate and what competence is required,” EASA said in a statement.
The proposal is now open for comment from May 12 until Aug. 12 and EASA will submit its final opinion to the European Commission at the end of 2017.
The regulation of drones weighing less than 150 kg is currently up to individual EU member states, resulting in a fragmented regulatory framework.
Makers of commercial drones include China’s DJI and France’s Parrot (PARRO.PA).
Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mark Potter