ITA Dossier: Drones – Flying All-Rounders?

The civilian use of drones is on the raise. However, the necessary rules and regulations are still missing. The current ITA Dossier describes the advantages and disadvantages and gives recommendations for a regulated use of unmanned flying objects.

How to distinguish between small, ground-level drones and large, plane -like objects? What regulatory measures should the EU and Austria decide to protect and to ensure the safety of citizens? Experts answer these and other questions in the latest ITA-Dossier.

New applications need new laws

We have come to associate the use of drones mainly with military actions in places far away. As civilian use is becoming more common, this is going to change. Drones are already used in search and rescue missions, or for monitoring of major events such as the Olympic Games. Add to that the affordability for private individuals, and a world in which unmanned vehicles do the job does not seem that far away.

Today, drones are operated by different entities, be it humanitarian, commercially oriented, scientific or government agencies. Equally varied is the on-board equipment, be it cameras, sensors or live-saving support systems. But all these new target groups and new fields of application have brought with them new areas of conflicts and many open questions.

Flying without traffic rules

For Dossier author Julia Haslinger the use of drones in itself is neither good nor bad. “But”, she adds, “there is no denying that the possible ubiquitous private and commercial use poses major challenges, particularly when it comes to the protection of privacy and to environmental aspects. Take for example aerial photography of residential areas."

One of the most pressing issues was legislation, continues Haslinger. One example: There are no traffic rules for drones yet. A second issue is insurance: In case of accidents it is currently unclear who is responsible for the damages. This as well as privacy concerns would call for action by policy makers.

Download : Drones - Flying All-Rounders? (2 pages in German)

By: Denise Riedlinger

A police drone during a mission (Photo: Wiki Commons)