Technology

EU safety agency begins work on drone-free zones

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today set out its first opinion on a safety framework to regulate zones where unmanned aircraft cannot operate.

As the EU plans the first continent-wide regulations for drones, EASA said it intends to give national governments the flexibility to define their own geographical limits on drone use.

The overarching safety rules proposed by EASA differentiate on the basis of risk, it said. “Flying the same drone over a city center or over the sea entails a completely different risk,” the agency said.

The agency also plans to develop specific rules to make it easier to get authorization for the use of drones for certain purposes, for example agriculture, as well as recognizing safety records of model associations.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said: “This regulation will enable the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the European Union, while also respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens, and allowing the drone industry to remain agile, to innovate and continue to grow.”

The opinion includes design requirements for small drones as well as a CE (European Conformity) marking for products brought on the European market.

It comes after the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU countries agreed late last year to give the EU competence on drone legislation.

The Commission will adopt regulatory proposals later this year, which aim to have drone services up and running by the end of 2019.

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