Looking at Legal Issues Surrounding Civilian Drone Aircraft

Few recent legal issues have captured the popular imagination the way that those surrounding drones have. Stories about the military use of drones have dominated the media in recent years, but there are actually a variety of private civilian uses for unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

Legislators are now starting to develop legal frameworks that provide guidelines for these vehicles. New proposed guidelines are sometimes controversial. Those who may not understand how new rules influence them have been encouraged to seek legal assistance from professional experts. Even casual observers might want to take a few moments to better examine the issues that shape these guidelines.

General Civil Aviation Authority Rules

The General Civil Aviation Authority is the primary regulatory body in the United Arab Emirates. Agents from this organization have begun drafting a series of new rules that are a decent example of what drone guidelines might soon look like around the world.

The regulations will more than likely specify height and area limits. They’re expected to restrict drone use nearly any populated area, and to prevent them from being flown too close to airports. Licenses will probably be granted in a variety of classes depending on the intent of the user. Classes will probably also depend heavily on the weight of the drone in question.

Weight limits for low-capacity drones will most likely be set around 25 kilograms. Lawmakers will probably place mid-capacity units in a category between 25 and 150 kilograms. Heavier units will have to be placed into a more advanced weight class. Organizations licensing heavy drones will be expected to pay higher fees than those receiving licenses to fly smaller ones.

Medical Usage of Drones

Some feel that these kinds of discussions have left out the fact that many experts feel that drones might be very useful in a variety of medical and rescue operations. International legal analyst Shahram Shirkhani mentioned several examples when this topic came up in a recent discussion.

A Texas-based design firm called Argodesign recently proposed an ambulance drone that’s about the size of a small car. It features a quadcopter design that has a smaller footprint than a regular helicopter, which means that it could theoretically land in tighter areas than a full-sized helicopter might. The drone could be automatically piloted from an airfield straight to an accident site.

A Dutch graduate student by the name of Alec Momont also recently worked on a prototype ambulance drone at Delft University of Technology. The drone is based around a three-rotor design. It could possibly deliver critical care to save those who are suffering from medical conditions like cardiac arrest. It could theoretically reduce emergency response times down to a mere tenth of what they’re currently at.

Analysis of Proposals

Legal analysts have urged lawmakers to consider these types of proposals before setting up licensing frameworks. Writing regulatory motions in too broad of a fashion could make it far too easy to use drone technology. Making regulations too onerous could possibly prevent new lifesaving medical technology from reaching the market.

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