Brussels wants to bring order to a market that could soon weigh 14.5 billion euros

They make it possible to inspect infrastructures, to help firefighters in the mountains or to provide surveillance… Drones entered the landscape about ten years ago, and the European Commission intends to better support their development. On Wednesday 30 November, the Brussels executive unveiled its new strategy, known as “drone 2.0”, to support the growth of a market which could weigh, according to its estimates, 14.5 billion euros in 2030. And employ nearly of 145,000 people on the continent.

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At the community level, regulations were adopted in 2014 to harmonize the standards, rules and other procedures for the operation of these machines of various sizes. “European standards are already very advanced, but we have decided to update our requirements”, underlines Adina Valean, the transport commissioner. No less than nineteen actions have been identified with a view to “create the right regulatory and commercial environment for the airspace and drone market of tomorrow”.

Eventually, Brussels wants these machines to offer emergency services, mapping, imaging, inspection as well as urgent delivery of small consignments, such as biological samples or medicines. At the same time, the European Commission wants to oversee the development of air taxis.

Ensure the acceptability of new aircraft

“With the arrival of a new generation of electrically powered aircraft capable of operating in an urban and regional environment, we must ensure, in addition to maintaining safe operations in our airspace, that conditions meet both the business needs of operators and the expectations of citizens for privacy and security.”, says the Romanian commissioner.

Brussels is in particular anticipating the Paris Olympics in 2024, which wish to introduce the first flying taxis. On November 11, the VoloCity prototype from the Volocopter company, in conjunction with Groupe ADP and the RATP, carried out its first full-scale tests at Pontoise airport (Val-d’Oise), in the Paris suburbs.

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To ensure the acceptability of these new aircraft, Brussels will create an online platform aimed at helping all stakeholders – from public authorities to companies, including NGOs – to implement this mobility innovative air. “Before advancing these technologies, we have to make sure that drones get the support of society”, says the executive.

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