From shooting awesome aerial videos during your summer holidays to inspecting construction sites, drones have been used in numerous ways over the past few years. But an increase in the number of devices whizzing about the skies has also meant that the risk of accidents has increased. In a bid to avoid unfortunate mishaps, the government has now announced new regulations for would-be drone pilots.
Announced this weekend, the rules will force owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams to register their devices in the future. The government hopes that this will improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly. Additionally, the government will also introduce a new drone safety awareness test that owners should take to prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations. Companies using drones as a part of their business already have to undergo similar tests. The move to introduce these new rules follows safety research by the Department for Transport, British Airline Pilots’ Association and the Military Aviation Authority that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters.
The government also plans to expand the use of geofencing – invisible GPS or RFID boundaries around buildings or sensitive areas that stop drones from entering zones such as prison or airport space. The news comes on the back of a drone flying close to a runway at Gatwick Airport three weeks ago, forcing five planes to be diverted.
Commenting on the new rules, aviation minister Martin Callanan said: “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 drone [and] introducing safety awareness tests to educate users we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
It’s not clear exactly when these new regulations will come into effect but it never hurts for entrepreneurs to brush up on the rules before their next flight.