Unmanned Plane Programs (UAS), also referred to as drones or Remotely Piloted Aerial Programs, may convey important improvements to a number of industries, in the end delivering advantages to customers and residents.
Wi-fi communications, and therefore the usage of radio spectrum, are important to the operation of drones.
Certainly one of Ofcom duties is to handle the UK’s radio spectrum. We have now been working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and with stakeholders to evaluation our framework for authorising gear that can be utilized on a drone, to assist allow the event of this rising trade.
Drones at the moment use spectrum designated for mannequin plane or Wi-Fi which don’t require a Wi-fi Telegraphy Act licence, as these units have been exempted from needing one by Ofcom.
Nonetheless, this regime just isn’t appropriate for among the rising use circumstances which might contain drones flying at greater altitudes and over longer ranges, generally going past visible line of sight. This is because of energy limitations of the licence-exempt units that they use.
We’re proposing to introduce a brand new spectrum licence for drone operators, particularly these trying to fly past visible line of sight utilizing cellular or satellite tv for pc applied sciences. Our proposed Unmanned Plane System (UAS) Operator Radio licence would authorise the licensed operator to make use of a spread of applied sciences on their UAS/drone fleet that aren’t at the moment permitted in the present day, together with:
• cellular and satellite tv for pc terminals for management and transmission of information and video; and
• security gear to allow the UAS to keep away from collisions and combine safely into the UK’s airspace.
The proposed licence would cowl a spread of kit that an operator might select to make use of or be required to hold by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If a licensee needs to make use of a cellular expertise that connects to a public cellular community they’ll want, earlier than doing so, to acquire permission from the operator of the community they want to use. We’re proposing that the licence can be topic to an annual payment of £75.
Our proposed licence wouldn’t change the present licence exemption regime for low energy 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz gear which most drones in the marketplace at the moment fall below in the present day.
Along with a licence to make use of the spectrum, operators will proceed to want to stick to any air security necessities concerning the operation of their UAS set by the CAA, the UK’s aviation regulator.
Stakeholders are invited to reply by 5 September 2022.