Air safety a priority for new drone Standards | Post&Parcel

Today, the first ever worldwide Standards for the drone industry are being released for public consultation by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Drone professionals, academics, businesses and the general public are invited to submit comments by 21 Jan 2019 with final adoption of these Standards expected in the US, UK and worldwide in 2019.

A prime characteristic of the ISO Standards is their focus on air safety, which is at the forefront of public attention in connection with airports and other sensitive locations.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Robert Garbett, Convenor of the ISO Working Group responsible for global drone operational Standards, Chairman of the BSI Committee for UK Drone Standards and Founder of Drone Major Group, the world’s first global drone consultancy, said: “I am delighted that we have now reached the point where the first ever Standards for the global drone industry are ready for public consultation after three years of hard work and international cooperation between ISO, BSI and Standard’s bodies across the world, with final adoption expected in 2019. These Standards will undoubtedly lead to a new confidence in safety, security and compliance within this dynamic industry, resulting in a massive expansion in the availability and use of drone technology in the years to come.”

Drones represent a global phenomenon and an unprecedented economic opportunity for any country which embraces the technology. It’s very encouraging that the UK Government is a world leader in recognising the importance of this vital business sector. Informed by the first drone Standards, it is expected that the forthcoming UK Drone Bill*, due in early 2019 will create a regulatory framework that allows the industry to flourish in an environment that is both safe and responsible. My conversations with drone buyers, manufacturers, users and the wider public indicate that these Standards are warmly and enthusiastically welcomed by all. I would encourage all those with an interest in drones to engage with the consultation process so that no stone has been left unturned in our quest for the creation and adoption of best-practice drone Standards.”

The announcement is the first important step in the standardisation of the global drone industry, encompassing applications for all environments – Surface, Underwater, Air and Space. The Standards, are particularly significant for the general public and Government, in that they address Operational Requirements of the more recognised and prevalent aerial drones, including protocols on Safety, Security and overall ‘Etiquette’ for the use of drones, which will shape regulation and legislation going forward. They are the first in a four part series for aerial drones, with the next three addressing General Specifications, Manufacturing Quality and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM).

The new Standards act as a new ‘etiquette’ for drones which promote and reinforce compliance regarding no-fly zones, local regulation, flight log protocols, maintenance, training and flight planning documentation. Social responsibility is also at the heart of the Standards, strengthening the responsible use of a technology that aims to improve and not obstruct everyday life. The effectiveness of the Standards in improving air safety will be further strengthened by the rapid development of geo-fencing and of counter-drone technology providing frontline protection against ‘rogue’ drone use.

Privacy and data protection

The Standards are also set to address public concerns surrounding privacy and data protection, demanding that operators must have appropriate systems to handle data alongside communications and control planning when flying. The hardware and software of all related operating equipment must also be kept up to date.  Significantly, the fail-safe of human intervention is required for all drone flights, including autonomous operations, ensuring that drone operators are accountable.