The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published the first view worldwide on the use and control of drones in an urban environment, balancing the desire to maximise the commercial and convenience benefits of drones against the need to ensure the safety and privacy of citizens and the potential environmental impact on our cities.
The challenge of integrating drones into urban environments is that these areas are already densely used by ground traffic, other types of air traffic – such as commercial airplanes, other civil aviation and police or hospital helicopter services – and also people, concerned about noise, privacy and the possibility of low-level flights causing accidental injury.
“We are already starting to see an increasing number of complex flights undertaken by drones in various experiments across the globe. Also, as everyone is aware, many companies have commercial ambitions to use drones for deliveries or, looking further ahead, to offer services such as air taxis,” said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA.
“This opinion proposes a regulatory framework that will allow such services to co-exist with all the other activities in our urban environments. The aim is to ensure safe operations, while also creating the basis for a competitive U-space services market, and establishing a level of environmental protection, security and privacy that is acceptable to the public.”
The term “U-space” has been adopted to describe the management of unmanned aircraft traffic to ensure the safe interaction with other entities using the same space in any location, not just urban areas.