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Drone owners should be required to register, says House of Lords committee


A committee of the UK’s House of Lords says drone owners should be required to sign up to a register. It’s one of a series of proposals outlined in an investigation into the safe use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

In its ‘Civilian Use of Drones in the EU’ [PDF] report, the House of Lords EU Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment sub-committee says drones could account for as many as 150,000 jobs in Europe by 2050.

The proposals for a register of drones would initially only cover commercial users, but would later be expanded to include individual consumers. The database would be designed to allow the authorities to trace individual flights and would be open to the public through a smartphone app.

The report also discusses the idea of adding an identity chip with the owner’s details to every drone sold, which was suggested by several of the expert witnesses it consulted, but stops short of making a firm recommendation.

The committee suggests that geofencing be used to prevent drones from being able to take off or fly over sensitive locations including prisons, airports and military bases. Last month, we wrote about NoFlyZone, an initiative to allow people to stop flights over their homes.

The House of Lords proposals argue that police should receive clearer guidance on current safety regulations and that a kitemark should be established to indicate drones that have been passed as safe to use.

The ideas put forward by the committee are not likely to directly translate into law, but with big tech players including Amazon and Facebook investing heavily in drone technology, we can definitely expect to see more legislation after this year’s general election.

➤ Drone industry could create 150,000 jobs in EU, say Lords [UK Parliament]

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Published March 5, 2015 — 11:00 UTC