Britain is considering whether civilian drones will have to be fitted with technology intended to prevent collisions with airplanes after a series of near-misses around airports.
“The U.K. government and the Civil Aviation Authority are talking to manufacturers about implementing geo-fencing technology on their drone systems,” Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said Wednesday in a written answer to a question by an opposition Labour Party transport spokesman.
“There are a number of drones already sold in the U.K. with this technology installed,” Goodwill said. “My department is talking to a range of stakeholders, including airports, about potential solutions for restricting drone operations around airports and other key infrastructure. We expect to have some results from this work by the end of the summer.”
While drones are banned from flying near airports, such incidents are becoming common, with Britain recording 23 between April 11 and Oct. 4 last year. There were seven close shaves in the U.K. in December alone, and four of those were classified as involving a serious risk of collision.
In February, a drone came within 5 meters (16 feet) of a potentially catastrophic collision with an Air France jet landing at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Under new provisions in a bill setting policy for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration introduced Wednesday in the Senate in Washington, all drone operators would for the first time have to prove they understand aviation regulations. The bill would also beef up the FAA’s enforcement of drone violations, require safety features on drones for the first time and fund programs to intercept wayward drones near airports.
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