Kicking off yesterday, the Australian Association of Unmanned Systems (AAUS) conference has seen the gathering of both civil and military delegates to hear about the latest technology and policy.
Graeme Crawford, Acting CEO of Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Director of Aviation Safety set the scene for the 200 plus delegates at the Canberra conference that is also streaming. The agency conducted more regulation services in the last 12 months than the previous 12 months, mostly around unmanned systems.
“Many are more complex than much of the other regulation work done by the organisation,” he said. “This trend is only set to continue.”
The changes in policy around drones are also filtering through the aviation and wider communities with recreational drone registration a requirement from 1 July 2022.
“Over 22,000 commercial drones are registered but we estimate that there are over 40,000 that still need to be registered,” Crawford said. “Registration is currently free, but a levy will be determined by government in the near future.”
On the civil front, drones are becoming an increasingly common sight in suburban and regional skies. The agency, along with its industry and other government agency partners, are working on engagement and collaboration strategies to educate the emerging wave of recreational drone users.
“We estimate that there are over a million recreational drones in Australia but how many last past Boxing Day remains to be seen,” Crawford joked.
He also spoke of the work with Air Services on a range of automated approvals processes that will not incur fees. This is an ongoing package of work and will be regularly updated at events like this.
Jason Harfield CEO of Air Services Australia explained that very aviation age since the 1950s has been a challenge of the time, with new technologies and demands on air space.
“The increasing complexity of the current environment does not have linear growth, it’s increasing in complexity and exponentially as air space becomes more congested,” Harfield explained, looking at the increasing demand on all classes air space globally. “After 2030 is when exponential growth really kicks off.”
“You can have blame, or you can have safety when it comes to independent investigations,” according to Greg Hood, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) chief commissioner. The ATSB’s concentration on rail, maritime and aviation accident investigation with a focus on safety and public confidence was challenged by COVID-19 over the past 12 months but Hood is proud of the work he and his relatively small team have accomplished over this challenging period.
More Defence presentations are being made today at the conference and ADM will also be following up on them, stay tuned.