Blog – Helsinki Declaration adopted
Yves Schellekens, EUROGI Executive Committee member
EC coordinates efforts to offer commercial drone services by 2019 in European space. The European Commission, national authorities and the industry adopted the “Helsinki Declaration” aiming to deliver advanced drone operations safely and securely in Europe. This Declaration was adopted at “The high-level conference on drones” organised jointly by the Commission and the Finnish authorities last month.
I had the pleasure to attend this conference on behalf of Agoria, and found it worthwhile to share it’s outcome with you, as many of you may already use drones in aerial photography, mapping & remote sensing services, or explore future usage possibilities. Moreover, as of next year, more funding will be made available by Europe for test projects, some of which may be relevant to our sector and your activities.
This third European conference on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) development attracted over 420 participants from 38 countries, who included high level representatives from EU institutions (EC, EASA, Eurocontrol, SESAR), and representatives of industry, governments and drone stakeholders worldwide.
Statistics are witness to the rapidly growing interest in the developing industry of UAV, which is surprisingly mature in some areas. The first edition of the conference in Riga, at which the development of EU common legislation began, gathered only 120 participants. Last years Warsaw conference, where the Warsaw declaration was signed attracted over 300 participants.
The Helsinki Declaration calls all stakeholders to work in parallel and with maximum cooperation on three pillars:
• Legal requirements for drones and drone operations, for the safe and effective use of the airspace, and for the delivery of cost-effective U-Space services. As a first step, this requires the urgent conclusion of the inter-institutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission’s proposal from December 2015 establishing an EU-wide framework for drones.
• Further investment in demonstrators and in longer term R&D projects that prepare for more autonomous vehicles and more dense traffic. The European Union recently launched a series of calls for proposals to speed up the deployment of the U-Space, and more funding will be announced in 2018.
• Effective standard setting process that is adapted to the fast evolving digital technologies of the drone and U-Space market.
Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc concluded the 2 day Conference:
“The Commission is focussing on a clean and quiet, safe and secure development of drones. The months ahead will be crucial, but I am confident that the Helsinki Declaration will give us the necessary impetus. It sets out a clear and common strategy endorsed by the entire sector. Let’s now turn words into reality!”
For those interested, the videos of the conference workshops and the Helsinki Declaration can be found at following link.