Countries around the world are rapidly imbibing drone technology. Several countries like the US, China, Russia, etc. already use drones for military operations. The commercial drone market is worth $127 billion today and is set to grow exponentially as countries like India and the UK are adopting better drone regulations. However, in January 2019, at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a new drone regulation package was launched. Known as the Advanced Drone Operator’s Toolkit, it is a set of guidelines, recommendations or suggestions for governments who are seeking to introduce drone laws in their countries.

The Advanced Drone Operator’s Toolkit

The Toolkit was created to address the worldwide clutter of drone regulations. Countries like Belgium and European nations, are adopting drone delivery and drafting legislation that reflects the evolution of autonomous technology. Meanwhile, the United States is constantly amending and restricting their drones in populated areas. This toolkit is basically an open-source guidebook which will help in drone adoption and implementation by helping governments understand the general issues and avoid regulatory stagnation.

In the US, there exist several stringent restrictions for non-recreational drones. This withholds many logistic companies from advancing their businesses. Autonomous drone usage is still years away, as the law states the drone to always be in the line of sight. Even in India, where drone laws are relatively new, BVLOS drones could easily take a year or two to legally hit the skies.

With this Toolkit, the World Economic Forum is hoping that other governments do not fall into such legal pitfalls.

“Safe, clean, inclusive and scaled drone use has become the goal of many nations,” said Harrison Wolf, report author and project lead at the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Now, governments can learn from the real-world success of world-leading drone delivery projects in Africa and Europe to develop their own national oversight. Through a comparative analysis of shared lessons, learned by governments and private players, this toolkit means governments don’t have to start from scratch and can begin societally important, socially responsible operations. We are really looking forward to the initializing of the pilot project in India.”

Andhra Pradesh to implement the Toolkit

Ten civil aviation authorities from five continents, eight international governmental organizations, and 23 private companies, including AirMap, contributed to the development of the Toolkit. Representatives from Andhra Pradesh showed their support by announcing the implementation of the recommendations in an attempt to introduce state-wide drone delivery operations.

“Andhra Pradesh is proud to be the first government partner to implement the Advanced Drone Operations Toolkit,” said Lokesh Nara, Minister for Information Technology and Rural Development in Andhra Pradesh. “We look forward to leveraging the insights from the toolkit to implement a drone delivery program that will bring key medical supplies to communities across our State.”

This Toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, Switzerland and the Drone Innovator’s Network (DIN). Zipline drones of Rwanda and Ghana have been making headlines across the globe for their tremendous work in medical aid. Also, Ghana will be the first country to receive a droneport in the coming years.