The global aviation community faces a moment in its develop with great disruption and the need to evolve to meet rapidly rising demand, decreasing access to skilled pilots, and an outdated and non-uniform infrastructure. As drone technologies evolve and advance at unprecedented speed, regulators from around the world are struggling to keep pace with effective policy that protects populations without stifling the aviation ecosystem. As the scale and scope of change increases; government, industry, and civil society leaders must work together to unlock the potential benefits of these technologies to society, while managing and mitigating their risks. Forward-leaning governments are piloting new approaches to drone regulation, exploring the future of aviation infrastructure, and advanced the autonomous aviation revolution. Unfortunately, no mechanism exists to scale their adoption globally.
The Drone Innovators Network (DIN) began development at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a community of progressive governments, supported by industry other key stakeholders, who are accelerating the adoption of drones with progressive regulatory approaches. This community is a platform to share these experiences with like-minded ministries and civil aviation authorities from around the world. Insights and best practices from these experiments will be captured and disseminated to support their adoption by a broader range of governments looking to harness the transformative potential of autonomous aerial systems in areas such as delivery, data capture, and human transportation.
The Drone Innovators Network held its inaugural summit in Zurich, bringing together regulators, academics, labor leaders, and entrepreneurs from six continents. It featured the world’s first deployment of a national scale unmanned traffic management system and focused on designing knowledge materials to support regulators implementing new approaches to drone regulation.
The Network plans to develop toolkits of best practices, based-upon and inclusive of community member case studies, from the most forward leaning regulators to be used by network participants and other interested governments. The first toolkit, Accelerating the Drone Revolution, included a focus on drone delivery case studies from Rwanda and Switzerland, where government leadership in airspace management has contributed to world leading drone programs.
The second meeting of the Drone Innovators Network will take place in Tokyo, Japan, bringing together leaders from throughout the aviation community to discuss the need for regulatory and technological innovation at scale. By examining the blossoming world of Autonomous Urban Mobility, UTM, and the evolution of the skies, the Network will examine the policy gaps and pathways forward for a rapidly development industry.