August 2017

UAE continues focus on the future with world’s first regulations on drone use in the emirates.

Source: Khaleej Times

It is no secret that the use of drones has been rising over the last couple of years. Recreational use of drones has grown among technology enthusiasts, leading to the development of new drone-based sports. Meanwhile, governments have found increasingly nuanced uses for drones for everything from security services to utility inspections.

The UAE has openly embraced drone technology, pioneering its application in government work, recreation and sport, and even humanitarian activities. The Drones for Good award, launched in 2015, annually awards USD $ 1 million to the most innovation drone-based solution that improve lives and benefit humanity. Meanwhile, utility service provide DEWA (Dubai Elecity and Water Authority) deploys a fleet of drones to inspect its powerlines, reducing operational costs and improving the safety of its workers.

As drone adoption increases, unique risks have also emerged. The need for no-fly-zones near airports are among the leading concerns raised by public and private sector officials, as unauthorized drone activity has been known to result in flight diversions and airport closures.

In response to these concerns and to encourage the continued adoption and safe operation of drones in the UAE, the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) has recently announced new regulations on commercial and recreational drone use. Under the new regulations, registration of drones for recreational or commercial purposes will be mandatory starting in September.

His Excellency Abdullah Abdul Qader Al Maeeni, Director General of ESMA, announced that a list of technical requirements must be met for successful registration.

Avoidance of disruption to air traffic is a primary concern of the new regulations. The direct costs of violating air traffic caused by the unsafe use of such drones without a licence may reach AED350,000 per minute, according to Al Maeeni. Studies carried out by specialists at the TRA have shown that financial losses extend to wasting the time of 203 passengers per flight, he also added.

With the aim of avoiding all of these challenges, ESMA has set up the new technical requirements to regulate the circulation of drones in the local markets, and to protect society and the national economy from any potential negative consequences of unsafe drone operators.

Under the new regulations, all drones in the UAE markets or airspace will be assigned a unique serial number that will enable authorities to monitor drone locations in a central databse.

Traders and suppliers have three months to comply with the new regulations.



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