The government wants to prevent drones from taking over UK skies
The government is introducing regulations that will require drones to be registered and their users to pass safety tests, aimed to make their use safer while maximising their commercial potential.
Drones over 250 grams in weight will need to be registered and their owners will need to pass a new drone safety awareness test, with the goal of making such drone pilots more accountable and responsible for their aviation actions.
Drone pilots will need to no only prove that they can fly a drone safely but alos show an understanding of UK security and privacy rules, given may drones are equipped with video cameras to record airborne footage.
“The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast growing drones market and it is important we make the most of this emerging global sector,” said aviation minister Lord Callanan.
“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones. Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.
“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones, introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
Alongside a drones register and pilot safety tests, the government is also bringing forward plans to expand the use of ‘geo-fencing’ in the UK, where by GPS based technology is used to prevent drones from entering the airspace of secured zones such as airports or prisons.
The move follows a consultation that found that drones weighing 400 grams could damage the windscreens of helicopters and thus put such aircraft at risk.
The government already has a drone code that advised pilots to keep their drones in their line of sight, stay below 400 feet, follow the manufacturer’s flying instructions, keep away from people and property, as well as aircraft and airfields, and to assume responsibility over their drone flights.
Drone may cause a nuisance in some situations, but they have proven to be used to deadly affect in military operations, to the extent that the Pentagon is now looking at testing swarms of drones for military reconnaissance.
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