ECTRI reply to the EC public consultation on the Drone Strategy 2.0

The Commission is currently developing “A Drone Strategy 2.0 for a smart and sustainable unmanned aircraft eco-system in Europe”. Building on the policies and regulatory framework already in place at EU level in this area, the European Commission has launched a public consultation (08/10/2021 – 31/12/2021) aiming to gather information and feedback from the most relevant stakeholders and from the wider public as to how the EU Drone Policy can contribute to a new offer of sustainable aerial services and transport.

ECTRI is convinced that further research is needed to understand the full implications of the use of drones, in particular in urban and peri-urban zones, and to better understand the added value that can be realized by drones services for commercial purposes in urban areas.

Furthermore, best use of drones in difficult-to-access-areas as well as other applications, where drones can indeed improve the logistics process, need to be identified in further research.

A full life-cycle approach needs to be taken for the evaluation of the benefit of drones and drones services. Emissions – especially noise – and their consequences, including e.g. health expenses, are to be considered when evaluating the economic benefit. Furthermore, safety issues related to drones need further investigation: e.g. shipments dropping, manipulation of data, security breaches, privacy protection, etc.

Consequences of a more pronounced drone presence need to be addressed in initial studies.  It is however important that urban infrastructure planning is done from an overall mobility perspective and that attention is first given to needs for active modes and existing public transportation modes.

Additionally, regarding safety, the traffic management principles that can manage a large number of aerial drones need to be researched and established.

ECTRI reiterates that research is needed to evaluate various scenarios of integration of aerial drones into the overall mobility offer for transport of persons and goods, and societal impacts need to be evaluated from a holistic perspective.