Aviation safety regulator mulls drone crackdown

CASA looks a compulsory registration, geofencing

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has released the terms of reference for its review of the regulations governing the use of drones.

The regulator said it will assess options including mandatory registration and training for operators of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) and geofencing technology to restrict the flying of drones in certain areas.

Last month the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee revealed it had written to infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester calling for strengthened rules governing the use of drones.

The committee is in currently conducting an inquiry into the regulatory requirements that impact on the safe use of drones.  

“As the inquiry has progressed, it has become apparent to the committee that the safety regulations regarding drone use have not kept up with a rapidly-growing industry, and that immediate action should be taken to make drone use safer,” a statement released by the committee said.

“In particular, there are growing concerns both within the aviation industry and amongst the general public about the safety of recreational drone use. These concerns emanate from an increasing number of reports of aviation incidents and mounting fears of the real prospect of a serious accident.”

“The Australian government is committed to fostering an environment that ensures the safety of commercial and privately owned aircraft, drone operators, and other people and property, while facilitating growth and innovation in the use of drones in Australia,” Chester said today.

“We are already seeing drones being successfully used in agriculture, mining, infrastructure assessment, search and rescue, fire and policing operations, aerial mapping and scientific research.

“CASA will be mindful that any proposed new regulatory requirements should also support the potential of drone operations to improve productivity, reduce costs and improve workplace safety across a range of industries and applications.”

CASA said a discussion paper on the issue will be released soon.

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