Commons Science and Technology Select Committee to investigate the ethics and safety of drone use

March 13, 2019

The Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry to look at the ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian drones, of all sizes, across the UK. 

The Committee says that drones have had a range of positive impacts across a variety of industries, from commercial photography and aerial surveying, through to crop spraying and parcel delivery. However, following increased recreational popularity, there have been several suspected drone incidents, including dozens of ‘near misses’ between drones and aircraft.

Following two previous consultations on drone safety and security and incursions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports the Government is planning to bring forward a ‘Drones Bill’ in 2019.

The Committee is asking for written submissions on the:

  • ethical implications of civilian drones on citizen privacy and safety in the UK;
  • effectiveness of built-in drone safety features, such as tracking and monitoring capabilities, in mitigating the risks of civilian drones;
  • effectiveness of anti-drone technology in mitigating the risks of civilian drones;
  • economic opportunities arising from the growth of drone technology;
  • success, or otherwise, of regulatory frameworks for civilian drones and what should be covered in the forthcoming ‘Drones Bill’;
  • plans for registration of civilian drones in the UK;
  • current state of drone safety education and research in the UK; and
  • international comparators with exemplary drone-interference prevention policies. 

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 12 April 2019.