[LINK] ABC: Drone User Licensing

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Mar 28 10:06:27 AEDT 2019

[CASA has finally accepted that its 5-year head-in-the-sand approach is 
untenable, and they'll actually have to fulfil their remit.

[Jake interviewed me for a previous round, and Tom W. yesterday.

[The following post provides a quick assessment of the announcement.

[Note that the article, and especially the headline, confound two 
distinct topics:  (1) Google Wings' Canberra trials, and impending live 
operation, of a medium-sized drone for delivery of pizzas (using a 
liberal and late set of licence exemptions from CASA);  and (2) the new 
announcement of a licensing scheme for small drones and their pilots.]

Drone 'flyer's licence' to be launched in time for Google's world-first 
delivery service in Canberra
Jake Evans
Wed 27 Mar 2019

Australia's aviation safety authority will establish a "flyer's licence" 
and mandatory registration for drones from July this year, coinciding 
with a world-first drone food delivery business to be run out of Canberra.

Key points:

-   Drone flyer data will be kept in a database to track users
-   Those with drones of more than 250g will have to pass an online
     education course
-   A drone delivery service is set to begin operation in Canberra
     once CASA approves it

For the first time, anyone in Australia who wants to fly a drone will 
have to be accredited by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, making it 
easier for police to track down miscreants.

"It will certainly give us big advantages in terms of complaints or 
reports of drones being flown improperly or against the safety rules," 
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said.

"We'll have a starting point to know who flies drones in that area, what 
sort of drone they fly."

Prospective flyers of drones weighing more than 250 grams will need to 
pass an online education course and register their drone, according to 
policy documents prepared by CASA.

Flyer data would be kept in a database, finally allowing Australian 
authorities to get a picture of how many drones are flown in Australia, 
who is flying them and where.

"For the first time we'll have an overall picture of the drone sector … 
probably there are tens of thousands, possibly even 100,000, but at this 
point we don't know," Mr Gibson said.

CASA said the cost of registration would vary for different types of 
drones and whether they were used for fun or profit.

It estimated it would cost $20 annually per person for recreational 
drones and for some model aircraft operators.

The annual fee for each commercial drone would likely range from $100 to 

World-first delivery service to begin in Canberra

CASA is still developing a full real-time network that can track drones 
like it does aircraft.

But it said, with operators like Google preparing to launch skyward in 
Australia, it needed to be ready for a complicated network of drones 
flying above Australia's cities.

Google's parent company Alphabet last year began trialling the use of 
drones to deliver burritos, coffee and medication in a suburb on the 
fringes of Canberra.

It has now built a permanent warehouse headquarters in the more central 
suburb of Mitchell, under the name Project Wing, where it plans to begin 
its first ongoing commercial operation — once CASA approves it.

Like any commercial operator, Google is already licenced to fly by the 
safety authority.

But as the drone industry rapidly grows, CASA said it needed to develop 
a system to manage all flyers, including those doing it just for fun.

"Clearly the unmanned traffic system is the key to safe and efficient 
drone operations, and all the players that are working in these areas 
are developing their own systems," Mr Gibson said.
"We are working on that already … it's not simple."

In an inquiry into drone delivery in the ACT, community groups have 
strongly objected to the technologies, saying their noise moved locals 
to tears.

That inquiry continues today.

Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA 

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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