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House of Lords calls for civilian drone registration in EU 'to help police' the skies

The House of Lords has urged for the creation of a database of civilian drones to help protect the public and enforce the safe implementation of the booming technology in the EU.

The proposals, issued today (Thursday 5 March) as part of the ’Civilian Use of Drones in the EU’ report, said Europe can be a leader in the drone industry which it claimed will generate 150,000 more jobs by 2050. It added that before reaching that milestone, national legislators will have to find ways to crackdown on how the technology's abuse.

To combat law-breakers and persistant regulation offenders, ARPAS-UK and the British Model Flying Association suggested that “some form of digital identity chip” could help authorities track the craft.

The report read: “In the UK alone, there are now hundreds of companies using remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to provide a range of services, including photography, land surveying, building inspection and crop analysis. Europe must act now in order to reap the future benefits of this exciting new technology."

Committee chairman Baroness O'Cathain, said: “The growth in civilian drone use has been astonishing and they are taking to the skies faster than anyone could have predicted... but there's also a risk - public understanding of how to use drones safely may not keep pace with people's appetite to fly them and it would just take one disastrous accident to destroy public confidence and set the whole industry back.

"So we need to find ways to manage and keep track of drone traffic, that is why a key recommendation is that drone flights must be traceable, effectively through an online database, which the general public could access via an app."

O'Cathain, added: "We need to use technology creatively, not just to manage the skies, but to help police them as well.”

The report agreed that the EU must find a way to effectively regulate drone air traffic to ensure safe skies in much the way that light aircraft is currently tracked.