New rules are to be announced by the UK’s Department for Transport in which drones weighing more than 250 grams (8oz), will have to be registered and their users required to pass safety tests.
The drone safety awareness test will involve potential flyers having to “prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations”. The plans also include the extension of geo-fencing, in which no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as prisons and airports.
These new measures will “prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones”. Although drones are proving vital for things such as aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, and inspecting transport infrastructure for repair, they can also be misused in such a way that is dangerous to the public.
For example, despite there being no significant accident involving a drone yet, there have been several reports of near misses with commercial aircraft, as well as incidents of drones being used to deliver drugs to prison inmates.
There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced as there are still things to consider and iron out. DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg stated that “The fact is that there are multiple users of the airspace, the public should have access to the air but you need systems to make sure everybody can do it safely”. It is from this that we realise the plans are to simply find a reasonable middle ground in which drones can still be used by the public but solutions must be found in order to protect them.
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