As drone usage soars worldwide amid concerns of privacy and collision with commercial jets, the United Nations aviation agency is calling for the creation of a single global drone registry. It forms part of its strategy to make standard rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
Though the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) cannot enforce regulations on countries, it has proposed the formation of such a registry during a symposium in Montreal taking place this month, which will make data accessible in real time.
It is hoped the single registry will replace multiple databases, being a single portal allowing law enforcement to track and identify unmanned aircraft, inclusive of information about the operator and owner.
Director of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau, Stephen Creamer, states:
“You’ve got to have some commonality so that you’re not carrying five receivers in your police car”
Mr Creamer recognises the globalised nature of the technology by stating:
“They (drone makers) are worried that Europe might create one set of standards, United States might do a second and China might do a third. And they’ve got to build a drone differently in these different environments”
“If you have a drone that you build in one country you should be able to use it in another country and vice versa. I think it’s smart that ICAO is trying to harmonize it”.
While a party has not been named to oversee the operation of the databases, it is speculated ICAO could be nominated.
It’s likely the UN’s proposal could face some push back, considering that hobbyists successfully challenged a US drone registry being created by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year.
ICAO is usually tasked with setting standards for international civil aviation which are adopted by 191 member countries. It has also been asked to aid in the development of standardised global drone regulations.
ICAO’s symposium (22-23 September) is said to be attended by the likes of Amazon, Google and Rockwell Collins and will cover topics such as tracking and registering drones, and geofencing-like systems to prevent drone operation in restricted areas.