Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corp.,
Photograph by Simon Dawson — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By David Meyer
May 5, 2016

Aviation regulators in the EU and the U.S. have announced plans to set up task forces and advisory groups for examining issues around drones.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Wednesday that it was establishing an long-term advisory committee, chaired by Intel(intc) CEO Brian Krzanich, to support “the safe introduction of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.”

The committee will work the FAA to identify things the agency should be doing. Members will come from industry, government, research and academia, and the retail and tech worlds.

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“Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety,” said FAA administrator Michael Huerta.

Intel has been puting a lot of effort into drone research, recently buying Germany’s Ascending Technologies to improve drones’ awareness of their surroundings and thereby boost safety.

The agency’s announcement closely followed that of a new drone advocacy group in the U.S. that includes Cisco(csco), CNN(cnn) and various drone startups.

The FAA also said it would ease restrictions on students that need to operate drones for education and research purposes.

Intel also put out a video showing a light show comprising a swarm of 100 drones over Palm Springs—an event that went ahead with FAA approval:

Meanwhile, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced a new task force that will work to “assess the risk of collision between drones and aircraft.”

In this case, the non-EASA members of the task force will come from the aircraft and engine manufacturing industry. They will keep track of incidents across European countries, look at existing studies on the impact of impacts, look at vulnerabilities and conduct tests on things like aircraft windshields.

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The task force will publish its results at the end of July, to feed back into the regulatory framework that EASA is developing.

At this point, the agency is looking at making it mandatory for unmanned drones to operate in visual line of sight, be registered (as is the case in the U.S.), and stay below the 150-meter mark.

The issue of drone-on-place collisions gained fresh urgency last month when a plane coming in to land at London’s Heathrow reportedly hit a small drone—although some have speculated that the object striking the plane was just a plastic bag.


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