UK says, Let there be drones!

The House of Lords is launching an inquiry into the feasibility of allowing unmanned drones to swarm the skies of Great Britain.

The investigation is being carried out by the Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Sub-Committee of the House of Lords European Union Committee, and seeks to determine a number of things about drone use in the UK, including: “can RPAS be protected against security threats? How will data protection rules apply to RPAS and their usage? Does the current framework for liability and insurance for manned aircraft need to be amended?

The committee is seeking written evidence from the public, with a deadline for submissions set at 19 September. Public evidence sessions will then be held in October and November 2014.

The future of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), as the committee calls them, is in question in the UK, as the use of drones flies into a strange legal grey area.

Last month Amazon sent an official request to the American Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to be allowed to test its new super-speed drone fleet in its own testing grounds.

Amazon is currently experimenting with drones that will provide half-hour, same-day delivery, according to a demo video released recently. The service, dubbed PrimeAir, could go into operation within 4-5 years.

The Committee will consider how the EU’s actions can benefit the RPAS industry in Europe “in a way that is acceptable to all stakeholders”.

The Committee will also look into “new and innovative ways in which RPAS are likely to be used in the future.”

If you have a burgeoning drone business, or just think you have some insight on this topic, contact the committee today and submit your written evidence.