The International Standard Organization (ISO) had proposed a set of standards to be followed by drones around the world. The organization is known for setting global standards for innumerous things and now drones are in the queue to adopt the ISO mark. The main aim of this is to increase public and drone safety. Also, this will help keep drone pilots in check and raise accountability among them. Moreover, drone standards would lend a major helping hand to countries that not only lack drone laws but even to countries which already have them in place.

What is the need for drone standards?

In recent years many countries have stepped forward in implementing drone laws. Countries like India, UK and China are taking leaps in formation of drone regulations. However, drone regulations differ from place to place. Laws which are applicable in the US may not be in the UK or vice versa. Also, many drone laws in the US alone differ from state to state. Drone regulations are surely taking shape around the world but there is still plenty of skepticism around this topic as these laws are relatively new. Countries and governments are still learning to manage them.

Therefore, to address this mass variety of views pertaining to drones and their laws, ISO’s international drone standards aim to provide a common blueprint everyone can agree upon. This will help normalize drone operations throughout the world.

This will help create a global framework for responsible drone usage. With the help of these upcoming standards, drone adoption would spread much more rapidly and efficiently in the world.

ISO headquarters
ISO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

What are these standards?

The ISO standards primarily focus on four key aspects of flying a drone: data security, air safety, privacy, and creating new pathways to encourage and support the commercialization of UAVs.They are built upon the pre-existing flight regulations. In later versions, UAV specifications, standards for manufacturing and UTMs will also be added.

Air Safety

One of the most important points to be covered in the drafted international standards is air safety. The draft proposes standards for flight log protocols, drone maintenance, no-fly zones, local regulations, and training and flight planning documentation.

Apart from setting out global regulations, this standard focuses on flying drones more responsibly. Anti-drone gadgets and technologies are on the rise but preventing rogue drones into personal airspace of people is a challenge. However, this can be achieved by fostering better ethics regarding drone flying among drone pilots.

Air safety ISO drone standards

Data Protection and Privacy

Since the advent of drones privacy concerns are rapidly rising among the people. The ISO global standards manage to address these concerns aptly in its draft. According to the draft, pilots will be required to use systems that protect their data privacy. They will also be required to keep their software and hardware up to date.

As a fail-safe, the standards mention human intervention for all drone operations. This will cover all operations carried out by autonomous or BVLOS drones. Thus, this will ensure that some person is accountable for the operation carried out at all times.

When will these standards be implemented?

These global standards were announced in November 2018. The first draft was open for comments and suggestions from the drone users community until January 2019. As stated by ISO, one final draft will be developed and later launched in late 2019. Therefore, we can expect these global standards to be implemented by countries all over by the onset of 2020. The status of development is available on ISO’s official site: ISO/TC 20/SC 16 Unmanned Aircraft Systems