By Riccardo Masucci
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, have great potential to spur economic growth by creating services and experiences that have never before been possible, including reduced shipping times, regular and efficient utility inspections, and helping first responder emergency rescue efforts. In Europe, the emerging ecosystem got a boost when industry and regulators came together in Warsaw.
The EU drone community met on 23-24 November in Warsaw at the high-level conference organized by the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Polish Civil Aviation Agency. The event proved to be a good opportunity to take stock of the achievements after the Riga declaration and to outline future priorities in the final Warsaw declaration. Poland positioned itself as a promising market for drone business opportunities.
EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, opened the conference and announced the creation of a Task Force to coordinate a drone strategy with all stakeholders. Key pillars of the strategy will be 1) the establishment of the new EU regulatory framework for drones; 2) effective funding of R&D projects to integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (44 million euros made available through Horizon 2020); 3) the development of the U-Space (access to low altitude airspace especially in urban areas).
During the two-day summit, stakeholders from EU institutions and agencies, National Aviation Authorities, industry, trade associations and international organizations discussed business applications and regulatory challenges for UAS. From a technology perspective, the drone community acknowledged collision avoidance and unmanned traffic management systems (UTM) as prominent solutions to address safety. From a regulatory standpoint, fragmentation of rules in Member States could harm the ecosystem and hinder the potential of drone applications and services.
Intel supports the spirit and content of the Warsaw declaration and stands ready to collaborate with EU and national authorities, as well as with industry to develop the operation-centric and risk-based legislative framework promoted by EASA and the European Commission. In particular, we believe in an inclusive and comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach, which will enable a balanced and effective definition of requirements for industry, especially regarding registration, electronic identification, marking and operational scenarios. The EASA prototype regulation on UAS will benefit from the continuous dialogue with all stakeholders, based on market-adopted and international solutions.