Hoe verder met Europese dronestrategie 2.0?

Hoe verder met Europese dronestrategie 2.0?

De Europese Commissie heeft onlangs een roadmap gepresenteerd om tot versie 2 van de Europese dronestrategie te komen. Deze strategie wordt de basis voor fase twee van de realisatie van duurzame en slimme mobiliteit met onbemande systemen. De taak van de EU is om een veilige en efficiënte ontwikkeling van het drone-ecosysteem mogelijk te maken. Op de website van de Europese Commissie vind je meer informatie over “dronestrategie 2.0”. De maatschappij – en dus ook Space53 – is uitgenodigd om hierop feedback te geven. Op basis hiervan gaan zij het plan aanscherpen en verbeteren.

Op 22 juni hebben we met aantal Space53-partners een gezamenlijk standpunt gevormd ten opzichte van de Europese dronestrategie 2.0. De Europese Commissie heeft deze feedback inmiddels van ons ontvangen. Je kunt het ingezonden standpunt hieronder teruglezen.

“EU Drone Strategy 2.0 should be based on a European ambition for the role of unmanned systems technology in our economy and broader society. An ambition that encompasses an inspiring vision, ambitious goals and the courage to make clear choices.  We propose updating the 2016 SESAR European Drones Outlook study and suggest to explicitly start from a broader perspective for drone usage than ‘mobility’ and ‘defence’. As stated in this roadmap, drones can be used to replace or complement workers and assets in a variety of activities and markets, thereby contributing strongly to the digital transformation, an important aspect of Europe’s (Digital) Strategy.

Closely linked is being digital autonomous. Europe is increasingly dependent on externally developed technology. What does that mean for our economic independence? Our privacy and our safety? These are urgent themes for drones, the robots that in a few years will operate by the thousands among our cities and collect terabytes of data. Europe should be aiming to strive after self-reliance to remain in control of its own data and prosperity and the opportunity to generate worldwide market leaders in the industry.

The development of an effective innovation ecosystem, addressing technology, economy and related ethical, legal and societal concerns (T+B+ELS), is crucial for the European drone technology industry to grow. To do so, it is essential to unite SMEs, larger companies, knowledge institutes and (local) NGOs and governments to explore and exploit opportunities together, to share risk, capabilities and knowledge. Cooperative projects result in highest value for money: when cooperation is stimulated, innovation is accelerated and numerous possibilities can be turned into reality. Also, dissemination -and thereby societal awareness- is more effective when operating in a ‘drone ecosystem’. Effective integration of drones in society can be stimulated by conducting empirical studies on impact and social acceptance, together with testing and experimentation in controlled areas with safe and secure circumstances are requirements for this.

It takes time for such a drone ecosystem to work. European funding is required, as the drone industry not yet has the capacity to organise this professionally on its own. Facilities, coordination, and a (regional) shared strategic mindset for research and development are required. As one of the most dynamic growth industries, the drone industry demands the capacity to act quickly. Drone Strategy 2.0 should make use of the drone hubs already established in Europe. Building on this base, would lead to effective further steps. There is an opportunity to address drone related challenges (in terms of new regulations, technologies, social acceptance) to local or regional drone hubs. Once validated in those controlled circumstances, it can be accepted and integrated on a larger scale.

A true level playing field in the EU is of the utmost importance for the European drone technology industry to scale and grow into worldwide market leaders. Drone Strategy 2.0 should be focussed on equalising and minimising drone related rules and legislation across the EU. The current EU regulation leaves too much space for national governments to divert from the EU principles. This can be seen from striking differences between different EU countries regarding for instance licensing costs or operational procedures and restrains for professional users. Regulations should be used to create a climate for innovation and leadership. Keywords like “safety”, “privacy” used by authorities to regulate or restrict drone operations should be substantiated by facts and figures instead of being considered as self-explanatory and undisputable.”


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