The Future for Civilian UAV Operations

The Future for Civilian UAV Operations

Tarryn Kille (University of Southern Queensland, Australia), Paul R. Bates (University of Southern Queensland, Australia), Seung Young Lee (University of Southern Queensland, Australia) and David Murray Kille (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7900-7.ch010


The future looks bright for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Their ability to carry sophisticated imaging equipment attached to lightweight vehicles, to hover in position despite incremental weather conditions, to fly simple missions, and takeoff and land automatically, combined with their comparatively (compared to manned aircraft) lower investment and operational costs has driven a paradigm shift in the history of air transport. This chapter is organized around six themes that underscore the current discourse regarding the future of UAVs in civilian commercial operations, as well as highlighting the discussions of the previous chapters regarding policy and certification, technology, training, social and economic forces, air cargo, and the effect of UAVs on other sectors of the air transport industry.
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Policy And Certification

It is apparent from the preceding chapters that Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations in the civilian environment are on a forward trajectory, increasing in numbers and applications with more complex and demanding missions. Currently, system developments in this field are driven by the preferences and inclinations of manufacturers and users. Such development tends to lead, inevitably, to a vast array of control station configurations, internal vehicle software and a perplexing mix of pilot-vehicle interfaces. Predictably, well considered Human Systems Integration (HSI) supported by holistic systems engineering approach is illusive and rarely applied (Bennet, Bridewell, Rowe, & Craig, 2016; Gawron, 1998). Hence, operator and vehicle certification has become a significant cause for concern (Du & Heldeweg, 2018)

The variations in the dimensions and sizes of UAVs range from very small (under 25 kilograms) to very large (over one tonne) (Perritt & Sprague, 2017) provide an additional complication to the situation. Moreover, UAVs are being used to respond to an extensive variety of existing and rapidly emerging needs in commercial and consumer applications. These emerging needs in the commercial and consumer sector include examples such as agricultural surveying and crop inspection, motorway surveillance, bridge inspection, vaccine delivery and package delivery (De la Torre, Ramallo, & Cervantes, 2016).

The global political and regulatory environment encompassing UAV operations will continue to be problematic (Kreps, 2014). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in February 2015, which commits to the development and establishment of rules governing the operation of small remotely piloted aircraft (under 25 kilograms) (Jiang, Geller, Ni, & Collura, 2016). However the NPRM raised a number of questions and does not address the rapid emergence of the UAVs weighing more than 25 kilograms. Since then, Part 107 has been published. “Part 107” refers to Part 107 of Chapter 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations published by the FAA (Olsen, 2017). This rule provides a regulatory framework that every drone pilot must follow in order to commercially fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone. This rule includes operational limitations, pilot responsibilities, and aircraft requirements.

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