Recent discussions between Drone Major Group who convened the meeting and representatives of the Department for Transport (DfT), the Greater London Authority (GLA), British Standards Institution (BSI) and others, highlighted the need for the industry to come together to agree the best approaches to ensure that the UK maintains its leading role in the drone industry’s continued development as one of the world’s most economically significant disruptor technologies.
BVLOS drone operations are broadly defined as those which take place beyond the pilot’s direct line of sight and VTOL operations are critical to the development of the passenger carrying drone industry. Currently, such operations are strictly controlled due to legitimate safety concerns, however it is widely recognised that the full potential of the transformational drone industry can only be realised once a safe and responsible framework for BVLOS operations has been established. In this way, BVLOS and VTOL are a precursor to the creation of a wider UTM system which incorporates autonomous operations for drones.
The immediate objective of the City Hall meeting was to formally establish a Working Group tasked with producing a proposed strategy for presentation to the DfT and CAA, designed to assist in the adoption of future guidelines, operational protocols and standards for BVLOS and UTM. The working group will aim to present its findings at a further meeting in January 2019.