The use of aerial based systems involving UAVs or drones in a country where there is not a precedent can require extensive consultation. We are at the very beginning of a new era that brings together aviation, robotics and cloud based applications, creating new challenges and opportunities.
The UK Government has recognised the potential of this field with the launch of a consultation in December 2016 to look at the benefits drones can bring to the UK with the aim to:
The UK Government’s enthusiasm highlight its potential elsewhere, for example in Mali, where if the use of drones is combined with local capacity building, the benefits of the aerial based systems could extend from the short term benefits from a humanitarian perspective to longer term economic benefits and crucially creating jobs in the digital economy.
At the mCubed Initiative we have been looking at how such systems can be safely and responsibly used to support efforts by communities to safeguard and raise awareness and understanding of their heritage assets, within their country and in the wider world – see a short video.
Heritage stewardship is an international priority, with awareness that innovation and better tools are needed. But how do countries protect themselves against misuse or accidents? How best can we introduce the benefits of such systems in ways that mitigate the concerns about misuse or accidents?
In looking at these issues, there is a lot we can learn from other sectors where UAV usage has become much more mainstream. This blog looks at four key challenges facing drones in the humanitarian sector and features comments from UK-based UAV specialists, Heliguy. Heliguy is uniquely placed to have insights in this field, offering as it does a number of drone training programmes starting with the approval certificate that on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as an approved National Qualified Entity.
We have highlighted four major issues to be addressed including technology, connectivity, trust and regulations.
Regulations and guidance will continue to evolve. It must be an operator’s responsibility to stay up to date with the rapid shifts in regulation that are occurring throughout the nascent market of drone services. If you follow the above advice, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to make a success of a UAV project whether for humanitarian purposes or an industrial venture.
We have sought to foster a collaborative approach bringing in partners from academia and industry to gain insights of use case examples from other sectors and other regions of the World.
This has involved assessing the current CCA approved training programmes, exploring use cases in the field of aerial archaeology, practical test flights both in the UK and internationally, and reaching out for appropriate guidance within Mali where the main field work has been focussed, as well as pioneering a training format to enable local people to experience learning to fly drones themselves.
We will continue to publish insights on our project blog page. Any thoughts please get in touch with Nicholas Mellor.
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