New Dubai Drone Law Paves the Way for Commercial Ecosystem

new Dubai drone law

Credit: AFP PHOTO/ WAM / Handout /

Dubai has been at the forefront of the adoption of cutting edge drone technology like drone taxis – but until the new Dubai drone law was issued this month, commercial flight was strictly restricted.  Now, commercial drone operations in the UAE may be ready to take off.

The following is a guest post by Carrington Malin, UAE-based marketing consultant and writer focused on emerging technologies.  DRONELIFE neither makes nor accepts payment for guest posts.

Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, this month issued a new law to govern future drone services and pave the way for a commercial drone services ecosystem that allows both drone delivery and flying taxis.

Dubai’s futuristic skyline, advanced digital services and affinity with technology are now well known and its government declared an interest in drone services early on. Government sponsored innovation labs have developed prototype delivery drones, while the public transport authority was among the first in the world to conduct test flights with autonomous aerial vehicle developers EHang and Volocopter.

Until now UAE federal aviation regulations have restricted drone usage to specific fly zones and controlled commercial scenarios, allowing photography, inspection and survey services, but prohibiting any beyond line of sight operations. The new Dubai-specific law provides a framework for Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop procedures, systems and regulations to allow a broader range of drone usage.

Importantly, Dubai’s new law will allow Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to roll-out its Dubai Sky Dome initiative, which is being developed to provide the physical and virtual infrastructure needed for a full spectrum of drone services. The authority has already invested in the development of an air traffic control system to manage drone traffic and will specify air corridors, height restrictions and radio frequencies.

Although no details about implementation have yet been released, the news has been welcomed by the technology and innovation sector. On the whole, progress on future drone regulation worldwide has been slow and all drone operations that involve beyond line of sight flights have been permitted by governments by exemptions to existing laws. If Dubai moves quickly to address the detail required to implement the law fully, then it could well position itself as a centre of investment and innovation in the sector.

For more information on Dubai’s new drone law, see my in-depth executive summary of the law here.

Carrington Malin BlogCarrington Malin is a UAE-based marketing consultant and writer focused on emerging technologies.  As a consultant, Carrington helps companies, startup ventures and public sector organisations position themselves for success, developing strategies for communications, marketing and digital initiatives, leveraging new technologies.   

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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