It’s conference season for the drone industry – and more and more of the most influential companies are showing up in Europe for them.
It’s not just the beautiful cities, the great universities and the business opportunities. In the drone industry right now, European lawmakers and stakeholders are coming together to lead the global industry in discussing – and defining – industry standards.
Opportunities and compromises
The lack of definition in the drone industry is a significant bottleneck for drone integration and widespread adoption of drone technology in large enterprise. Standards on performance, acceptable risk, regulations, licensing, unmanned traffic management (UTM), enforcement and more are in flux. Europe is providing opportunities for discussion and compromise that are moving the process forward. As the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European countries are able to establish a common standard, other countries are following suit.
Europe has in many ways led in flexibility to allow testing of new technologies. As far back as 2015, US-based Amazon and Google both announced that testing of drone delivery would happen in Europe before it took place in the US. France has allowed BVLOS flight since 2012 – helping French drone firms to become top recipients of venture capital funding.
Europe as a leader
Now, Europe is taking a leading role in developing universal standards and drone regulation. The passage of the EASA “Basic Regulation” this summer was a major step forward for the European drone industry, and an indication that a universal standard – or at least a regional one – is possible. This type of agreement is critical for manufacturers and developers, who are hampered by uncertainty that future designs may not meet the regulatory requirements of part of the market. Segmentation is not good for business.
Upon the publication of the Basic Regulation, Paula Iwaniuk of the Drone Manufacturers Alliance of Europe, said: “Drone competence in Europe will be centralized. This is good news. It means maintaining safe skies, harmonizing rules and requirements, and enabling the drone industry to innovate further.” Now, the European drone industry is creating space for global stakeholders to cooperate on that innovation.
Amsterdam Drone Week
The year’s EASA High Level Conference on Drones, which is a two-day meeting addressing the building of a common European market for drones, will be held during Amsterdam Drone Week. The two-day meeting will address the building of a common European market for drones and bring regulatory bodies and industry experts together in one location with global customers, service providers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration. US-based global enterprises like Boeing and Airbus are sponsors of Amsterdam Drone Week along with major European companies.
In creating a space to communicate, collaborate, and do business together in proximity with major decision-making meetings in regulations and standards, Europe has become an important destination for the global drone industry – and a hopeful indication of what the future of regulations may look like.