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Milestone moment for drone industry as first ever global standards are unveiled

Drone operators that are working on high-profile infrastructure projects up and down the country will soon be made to up their standards and abide by stricter regulations.

It comes as International Standards Organisation (ISO) took the first important step in the standardisation of the global drone industry and unveiled the first ever draft international standards for users to adhere to.

Now out to consultation and ahead of the introduction of a new bill to govern drone flights in the UK, they are expected to be adopted in 2019.

Within the published document, standards call for the implementation of “no-fly zones” to ensure sufficient distance from airports or sensitive locations and geo-fencing technology to stop flights in restricted areas. 

ISO also want new measures focusing on flight logging, training, and maintenance requirements. There are rules to ensure that operators respect privacy and data protection.

The new proposals are particularly significant for the general public and government, in that they address Operational Requirements of the more recognised and prevalent aerial drones, including protocols on safety, security and overall ‘etiquette’ for the use of drones, which will shape regulation and legislation going forward.

These particular standards are the first in a four part series for aerial drones, with the next three addressing general specifications, manufacturing quality and unmanned traffic management (UTM). Social responsibility is said to be at the heart of the standards, strengthening the responsible use of a technology that aims to improve and not obstruct everyday life.

Robert Garbett, an expert in the field and convenor of the ISO Working Group responsible for global drone operational Standards, believes the document “will undoubtedly lead to a new confidence in safety, security and compliance” within the dynamic industry.

Garbett, chairman of the BSI Committee for UK Drone Standards and founder of Drone Major Group, added: “I am delighted that we have now reached the point where the first ever standards for the global drone industry are ready for public consultation after three years of hard work. Drones represent a global phenomenon and an unprecedented economic opportunity for any country which embraces the technology. It’s very encouraging that the UK government is a world leader in recognising the importance of this vital business sector.”

The announcement by ISO has been welcomed and viewed as a much-needed one with the drone market expected to explode in the coming years. A recent forecast undertaken by PWC said that the UK aerial drone industry will contribute £42 billion and 628,000 jobs to the UK economy by 2030.