Regulations and Laws Pertaining to the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by ICAO, USA, China, Japan, Australia, India, and Korea

Regulations and Laws Pertaining to the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by ICAO, USA, China, Japan, Australia, India, and Korea

Doo Hwan Kim (Korea Society of Air and Space Law and Policy, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7900-7.ch007


The drone industry is rapidly developing around the world, and the numbers of drones are increasing. In order to maintain safety and secure stability of drone flights, regulations and laws related to drone operations are established in each country. This chapter reviews the rules and laws of drones established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United States, China, Japan, Australia, India, and Korea. In order to protect victims and develop the drone industry, the author proposes that it is necessary and desirable for the legislation of a unified and global “Draft Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Drone Operations and Transport.”
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1. Introduction

Drone technologies continue to improve at a rapid pace and are slowly pushing unmanned aircraft (UAS/Drones/UAV) toward the mainstream. Companies in a variety of industries are now looking to use drones to cut costs, boost efficiencies, and create new revenue streams and business values, such as last-mile retail deliveries. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include UAV’s, and a system of communications between a ground-based controller and the Drone. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers (ICAO, 2011).

Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too “dull, dirty or dangerous” (Tice, 1991) 1 for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, and other applications, such as policing, peacekeeping (Franke, 2015) and surveillance, product delivery, aerial photography, agriculture, smuggling,2 and drone racing. Civilian UAVs now vastly outnumber military UAVs, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015, so they can be seen as an early commercial application of autonomous things, to be followed by the autonomous car and home robots.

Figure 1.

Many kinds of use (fire etc.) by drone

There's no arguing the drone industry growth that has occurred in the last few years, but discrepancies arise in trying to quantify that growth depending on how you define a drone, according to Recode.

Total drone unit sales climbed to 2.2 million worldwide in 2016, and revenue surged 36% to $4.5 billion, according to research firm Gartner. But the Consumer Technology Association points out that 2.4 million personal drones were sold in the U.S. alone in 2016, more than double the 1.1 million sold in 2015.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, defines drones as aerial vehicles that can fly autonomously or be piloted by a remote individual. Under that criterion, BI Intelligence expects sales of drones to surpass $12 billion in 2021. That's up by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% from $8.5 billion in 2016. This growth will occur across the three main segments of the drone industry: Consumer Drones, Enterprise Drones (also known as Commercial Drones), and Government Drones. Consumer drones are drones purchased by individuals for noncommercial and nonprofessional purposes. BI Intelligence expects consumer drone shipments to hit 29 million in 2021, which would indicate a CAGR of 31.3%. For enterprise drones, BI Intelligence expects shipments to reach 805,000 in 2021 with a five-year CAGR of 51% from 102,600 in 2016 (Meola, 2017).

A recent Teal Group study estimates that worldwide spending in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry will increase drastically in the next decade—with expenditures of up to $11.5 billion annually. The drone industry is growing at a significant pace and is expected to contribute $82 billion to the U.S. economy within the next ten years.

Sales of drones for commercial operations are predicted to increase from 600,000 in 2016 to approximately 2.7 million by 2020. Drones have broad applicability for a wide range of industries, including energy and public utilities, agriculture, real estate, insurance, movie-making, photography, and videography. The slow progress of creating a comprehensive regulatory scheme for commercial uses of drones is delaying more extensive deployment of drones in the U.S. economy (Heffernan & Urban 2017). As the Drone industry has a bright prospect not only in the United States and the Republic of Korea but also in the whole world, it is essential to discuss the legislative examples of Drones in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), USA, China, Japan, Australia, India and South Korea.

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