Having reached a broad consensus to open the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) market, Europe is aiming to be a frontrunner in the development of the industry, according to Netherlands-based drone manufacturer Aerialtronics.
The Latvian government and the European Commission recently held a joint conference to address and develop the opportunities and concerns of the RPAS industry. What followed was the Riga Declaration on Civil RPAS, which laid a plan to allow civil RPAS operations throughout Europe from 2016 onwards.
Aerialtronics says it shared knowledge on market and industry developments with politicians, legislators, industry leaders and civil societies. The conference was a significant sign from all parties involved that Europe intends to maintain its competitive edge as its drone market opens in 2016, the company explains.
The main principles of the Riga Declaration on Civil RPAS are as follows:
- Drones need to be treated as new types of aircraft with proportionate rules based on the risk of each operation;
- European Union rules for the safe provision of drone services need to be developed now;
- Technologies and standards need to be developed for the full integration of drones into the European airspace;
- Public acceptance is key to the growth of drone services; and
- The operator of a drone is responsible for its use.
“This conference is a great positive development,” notes Lucas van Oostrum, chief technology officer at Aerialtronics. “The benefits of RPAS are becoming clear to politicians, legislators and civil societies. Together we are setting the path to an open RPAS market.” Aerialtronics is also a member of the Small UAV Coalition, which aims to pave the way for commercial and civil UAVs in the U.S. and abroad.
The two-day conference was opened by Anrijs Martiss, minister of transport for Latvia, and Joao Aguiar Machado, director general of directorate general mobility and transport for the European Commission.