House of Lords launches enquiry into civil use of drones

by Ben Fisher

Posted on July 13, 2014

The House of Lords yesterday launched an enquiry into the civil use of drones. This is in response to the rapid expansion of uses throughout Europe. They mention use cases like ‘crop spraying’, ‘aerial photography’ and even ‘pizza delivery’ in their announcement. This comes as no surprise as laws are having to rapidly keep up to date with the technology. They have identified the concerns on everybody’s mind; ‘how safe are they? Do drones pose a privacy risk? What is the economic benefit to the UK and EU of drones? Is the European Industry falling too far behind the rest of the world?’

The enquiry will focus on the European Commission’s work on specific areas relating to the civil use of drones. These are:

EU wide standards and rules on safety Controls on personal privacy and data protection Security controls to protect the drones themselves Insurance and liability implications for drones Support for new industry and research and development The committee chairman Baroness O’Cathain said:

“The rise of civilian use of drones across the EU is staggering. In the UK alone the number of permissions granted for civilian use of drones in congested areas went up forty-fold between 2006 and 2013. No wonder that the RPAS industry has been described as one of the most dynamic aerospace markets of the 21st Century.

“However, with this increase comes a raft of issues that need to be addressed, such as whether safety considerations are and should be standard across Europe and whether they need to be changed; the issue of correct controls being in place to protect European citizens’ privacy and data; and if the European industry can become a global leader. Nevertheless, we must remember that too much regulation too early will kill off the industry in its infancy.

“We feel this is the right time to look at this issue, and we welcome views from all quarters. I would encourage anyone with relevant expertise or experience to submit written evidence to us by 19 September in order to get their voice heard and help us in our deliberations.”

Next steps are for written evidence to be collected by the committee by the deadline, Friday 19th September. 2014. The final report will be concluded in early March 2015.

This is an exciting development of the back of the latest CAA annoucement for updated CAA regulations which are due to come online late October 2014.

You can follow the updates on twitter using the has tag #HLRPAS.

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