Approved drone safety standards

Approved drone safety standards

The world’s first ISO approved drone standards have been announced by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) following a 12-month period of consultation with drone professionals, academics, businesses and the general public. 

The final publication of these new international safety and quality Standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are set to have a massive impact on the future growth of the drone industry throughout the world, and, are the product of several years of cooperation and rigorous interrogation from all sectors of society. This important first step is part of a wider deliverable by ISO which is expected to trigger rapid acceleration in the use of air drones by organisations keen to reap the rewards of this transformative technology, against a background of reassurance on safety and security within a new framework of approved regulatory compliance.

This announcement by ISO represents enormous progress in the standardisation of the global drone industry and is of particular significance in addressing the operational requirements of the more recognised and prevalent air drones, also known as UAS. The new Standards include protocols on quality, safety, security and overall ‘etiquette’ for the operation of commercial air drones, which will help shape future regulation and legislation. 

Air safety  

A key attribute of the ISO Standards is their focus on air safety, which is at the forefront of public attention in connection with airports and other sensitive locations. The new Standards promote an ‘etiquette’ for drone use that reinforces compliance towards no-fly zones; local regulation; flight log protocols; maintenance; training and flight planning documentation. Social responsibility is also at the heart of the Standards, which strengthens the responsible use of a technology that aims to improve and not disrupt everyday life.  The effectiveness of the Standards in improving air safety will be further strengthened by the continuing rapid development of geo-fencing and counter-drone technology, providing frontline protection against ‘rogue’ drone operators. 

Privacy and data protection

The Standards also seek to address public concerns surrounding privacy and data protection, demanding that operators must have appropriate systems to handle data alongside communications and control planning when flying.   

An exciting future

Air drones are already beginning to provide solutions to some of the most pressing economic, transport, security, environmental and productivity challenges faced by governments and
industry throughout the world, reducing road traffic, easing congestion, saving lives through a reduction in accidents and reducing pollution in our cities.  As well as speeding up the delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects, drones are expected to reduce the need for some expensive new major transport infrastructure altogether. 

Fire departments are seeing large benefits from the use of drones during structure fires and search and rescue missions. In the case of a property fire  the drone can be deployed to assess the scene, before the firefighters exposed to the fire. When equipped with a thermal camera, the drone can show operators where the hotspots are, and also have the ability to see through smoke and in low light conditions. The thermal camera can then allow operators to monitor crew members and conditions, improving efficiency and safety. The drone can also be equipped with a spotlight to assist firefighters in dark or low light conditions. After the smoke has cleared, drones can also aid in the critical work of assessing the damage, whether it be from a fire or other natural disasters. Drones allow firefighters to quickly and effectively scout out dangerous fires, observe and monitor a large blaze and the surrounding area and more. The aerial perspective allows Incident Command to see through smoke to direct teams to hot spots or direct and monitor rescuers during entry.

“One of our key responsibilities to the public is to remain fully alert while managing our resources effectively and efficiently in facing emergency situations,” said Colonel Ali Hassan Al Mutawa, assistant director of DCD’s Smart Services department when Dubai Civil Defence introduced drones to help monitor and respond to fires and other emergencies in the emirate in 2017.

“By collecting real-time video information faster ad sharing that intelligence across more channels, we are better able to help Dubai progress towards its goal of becoming the happiest city in the world and achieve its Smart Vision goals,” he added.

New exciting applications for air drones are being developed daily.  Revolutionary approaches are emerging for freight and passenger transportation, with drones providing a cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative to traditional methods, relieving the burden on our already stretched urban road networks.  Further applications in the agricultural, maritime, construction and energy sectors among others, are already transforming businesses, with virtually all industries and business sectors set to benefit from the Standard-led adoption of rapidly evolving drone technology.