Academics and Practitioners Discussed the Upcoming Drone Age at the IES

What impact will the fascinating, but also challenging drone technology have on our daily lives in Europe? This was only one of many questions discussed during the international conference “The Drone Age: Issues, Actors and Perspectives”, held at the IES on Friday, 22 February 2019. With speakers and participants from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Germany, this conference provided a great occasion for both academics and stakeholders from different backgrounds to exchange their views on challenges and concerns, but also potentialities of drones today. 

Giancarlo Crivellaro from the Aviation Safety Unit of DG Move in the European Commission set the scene with his introductory keynote speech, giving first-hand insights into the new EU regulatory framework for drones. Afterwards, three academic panels covered the following aspects of drone imaginaries, societal concerns, actors and new practices, as well as industrial and technological perspectives. The conference concluded with a round-table of stakeholders from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESARJU) and Skeyes, the Belgian air navigation and traffic service provider, who outlined their contribution to and views on the upcoming integration of drones in the European airspace. Overall, the discussions throughout the day had emphasised that drones have indeed a unique potential and will certainly become a constant experience in our daily lives, but that therefore the need for further regulation and research is likewise high, and a cross-border approach is necessary within the European Union.

This conference was organised by Dr. Chantal Lavallée in the framework of her research project “EU-Drones”, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.