By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International published a set of guidelines on Monday to help ensure that drone aircraft are operated in a "safe, non-intrusive" manner. "By proactively adhering to these guidelines, we want to demonstrate how the rights of individuals and the safety of all users of civil airspace are our top priority, as we work to unlock the incredible potential this technology holds," said Michael Toscano, president of AUVSI. The FAA recently proposed that drones should start to be integrated into the national airspace by 2015, a move that has raised many questions about safety and surveillance. These concerns are addressed by the AUVSI code, which proposes that all UAS operations should promote "safety, professionalism, and respect."
The guidelines (PDF) stipulate that all UAS users should be properly trained and thoroughly assess the risks prior to launch. They also should comply with all laws and cooperate with all levels of government authority. Also, UAS users should respect other users of the airspace and the privacy of individuals. By adhering to the code, users can ensure that drones are "integrated responsibly into civil airspace," said Toscano. He added that the emergence of the technology represents "one of the most significant advancements to aviation, the scientific community, and public service since the beginning of flight."