A Review of the Legal, Regulatory and Practical Aspects Needed to Unlock Autonomous Beyond Visual Line of Sight Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations
Santiago Matalonga · Samuel White · Jacques Hartmann · James Riordan
Services that exploit Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are poised to revolutionise the service industry with a projected value of 71 BUSD by the end of the decade. A key enabler of this technology is the unlocking of autonomous Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. BVLOS operations will depend on a robust Detect and Avoid (D&A) capability. Yet, currently in the UK and EU, BVLOS operations are only allowed in specific cases and scenarios. As a result, the technological landscape for the development of robust D&A faces limitations, and there is little market incentive for development. Furthermore, while automated BVLOS is a future technology, a strong D&A capability is of importance now for all types of UAS operations. As the remote pilot has to deal with information overload from the controller device and the environment. These high-risk UAS operations are becoming more common. In this paper, we discuss the current legal framework in the UK making comparisons to EU countries. We make the case that even when an operation abides by the current framework the remote pilot is exposed to several legal liabilities. We review the roadmaps for UAS adoption (including certification processes for UAS-based products) and highlight that for software-intensive systems, key steps are missing to assure the quality of the product. Finally, we build on these findings to set forwards a path to complement future certification processes to enable autonomous based UAS operations to share the airspace with remotely piloted operations.