Title: Civil Drones in Society: Societal and Ethics Aspects of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC91671
ISBN: 978-92-79-40117-6 (print)
978-92-79-40116-9 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 26824
OPOCE LB-NA-26824-EN-C (print)
OPOCE LB-NA-26824-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC91671
DOI: 10.2788/146
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Remotely piloted aviation systems (RPAS) or ‘drones’ are well known for their military uses, but they could also be used for a range of civil applications for state, industrial, commercial and recreational purposes. Regulatory changes are underway which will allow their use in domestic airspace, with substantial functional and economic benefits predicted. The potential benefits of the civil drone sector for its military counterpart have also been recognised and nurtured, although concerns have been raised about European citizens rejecting civil drones because of their association with military drones, as well as some potentially controversial ‘crossover’ applications such as policing and border control. In this report, we consider this issue in detail, as well as other societal and ethics aspects the introduction of civil drones to European airspace. Exploring policy developments, consultations and research projects in Europe and third countries, we offer a critique of certain aspects of the development strategy, grounded in the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation. In doing so, we do not rely upon critique of drone technologies per se, in their neither their civil nor military guises. Rather, we seek to inform the evolution of responsible and socially beneficial civil drone development strategies. First, we introduce civil drone technology and the main applications areas anticipated. Following this, in Section 2, we describe consultation and development in Europe, the USA and Canada, with particular reference to the management of any identified societal or ethics concerns. In Section 3, we consider three such aspects in more detail in a European context: privacy and data protection, law enforcement, and representations of the relationship between civil and military drones. In Section 4 we present a discussion of what we understand about civil drones in European society, and in Section 5 we offer some recommendations along with and a brief description of further work.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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