2021 drone regulation US EU

2021 drone regulations: what rules to expect in the U.S. and EU this year

Remote ID, geo-awareness, registration — they’re all on the docket for 2021 drone regulations.

In the EU: The last day of 2020 signaled a huge shift for member countries of EASA, short for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, when a slew of wide-ranging drone registration and operation standards went into effect. Among those were designated drone operations into three categories: ‘open’, ‘specific’ and ‘certified.’ Open category flights are low-risk, requiring no authorization before flight, while flights in the certified category are high-risk and require three things: certification of the drone operator, certification of the aircraft, and licensing of the remote pilot(s). Those new rules massively shifted the approach to registration, training and licensing.

In the U.S.: But all the excitement in the drone industry wasn’t contained to just across the pond. In the U.S., December commenced on a surprising note when the Federal Aviation Administration released its final rule on Remote ID, meaning most drones will have to be capable of being remotely identified in order to fly in the U.S. 

Both the U.S. and European drone laws have major implications for the drone industry over the next year and onward.

The folks over at Drone Industry Insights put together a handy, visual timeline showing what drone regulations are set to come in 2021, accompanied by relevant history of other recent regulations (or proposals) leading up to them.

2021 drone regulations DII drone industry insights US EU European Union

The drone industry has historically been averse to over-reaching regulation, but at the same time many industry experts have suggested that some level of standardized requirements are necessary to propelling the drone industry forward. Many companies have called for guidance on drone operations over people or beyond the operators’ line of sight.

“In the next two years, operators and manufacturers face the challenge of complying with new requirements to fly advanced missions,” CFO and Co-Founder of DRONEII Hendrik Boedecker said in a report. “This may sound bad but is actually good news since it finally allows them to use drones to their fullest potential…which will leverage the disruptive potential of drone technology and dramatically push the market forward.”

What changes are you looking forward to (or dreading) in terms of drone regulation in 2021? Leave your comments for the community below!

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