Urban air operations

‘Please adopt a more facilitative approach to support BVLOS’

Wednesday, 22 May 2024

The third day of Amsterdam Drone Week traditionally provided a platform for Dutch Drone Day, organized by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management. With presentations from both the fire department and Medical Drone Service, the growing importance of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flying was emphasized.

 Ingrid Römers, Project Leader U-Space Airspace Prototype Rotterdam at Port of Rotterdam mentioned that "Our clients considering the use of drones are not interested in a 'step-by-step approach'. They want to start flying now. So, I hope we can speed things up."

There were othercalls from industry participants for regulators to adopt a more facilitative approach to support these use cases. This includes simplifying the permit process and considering the safe track record of drone operations to date to relax certain stringent requirements. Other participants expressed frustration over the complexity and rigidity of current drone regulations, which they feel are overly stringent and not conducive to technological innovation or operational flexibility. One mentioned, "In the Netherlands, we see very stringent interpretations of every letter and word in the regulations, making it difficult to operate freely compared to other countries.”mMaurits Dogterom, Business Developer at Medical Drone Service stated: "I want to reinforce my plea for the use of drones for medical transport with the following appeal: 'Make BVLOS flights possible! Healthcare needs it! Or actually, we all need it.'" And Ellen Aartsen, Manager of Innovations & Partnerships at KPN, said: "Since we are not yet allowed to fly BVLOS, companies cannot yet make money with drone solutions. Urgency is required as we are already seeing small businesses fold or drop out. We have everything in order in the Netherlands to be a leader, but legislation and regulations need to keep up."

The criticism was partially endorsed by the government itself. Goriska van Cooten, Drone Program Director at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, stated, "I understand the call for more speed. But I also want to emphasize that there is not just one type of BVLOS. It's not a catch-all term. It's like other traffic: there are highways and bike paths and many different vehicles and licenses. The same applies to the world of drones. One situation is not like another and thus regulation can only proceed step by step.”



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