Drones Readiness Index

Drone Readiness Index – Is Your Country Ready for the Future of Drones?

  • The Drone Readiness Index deals with the issue of different drone regulations between countries;

  • The Index consists of six components that define the ranking of a certain country;

  • Another DRI exists for African countries to assess their capacity for executing drone projects;

  • The rapid development of drone technology proposes challenges for legislatures across the world.

Not all countries in the world have their effective drone regulation set in place. But those that have, usually create a regulatory infrastructure that is composed of laws for aviation, different sets of rules, and technical standards. The Drone Readiness Index or DRI for short measures the effectiveness of a country’s regulation. Knowing where a country stands in terms of drone regulation is imperative for businesses, individuals, NGOs, and other stakeholders. Especially the ones that are interested in flying a drone in a certain country find this useful.

Different Levels of Regulation

According to The Drone Market Report 2019: Commercial Drone Market Size and Forecast (2019-2024), the worldwide drone market is headed for growth of over 43 billion USD in 2024. It’s estimated that the compound annual growth rate will be 20.5%. In comparison, the growth in 2018 was 14 million USD. This, too, makes it more evident why commercial, as well as civil regulations, are gaining ground.

Moreover, to create a complicated system of regulations, the countries’ regulatory bodies seldom work alone. They often collaborate nationally, regionally and even globally. At a national level, most of the biggest economies of Western Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania have their own set of national regulations. These regulations outline the usage of drones in their respective territories. Likewise, some smaller countries aren’t the exception either.

In terms of a regulatory infrastructure that works regionally, a great example is the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It plays a key role in the regional regulation of drones and similar devices. Further, the agency acts as an advisory body to the European Union. Globally, the task of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is coming up with different sets of standards that have to be implemented.

Calculating Countries’ Readiness with the Drone Readiness Index

DRONEII, a market research company in the drone industry, developed the Drone Readiness Index. The Index aims to solve the issues that different drone legislations inflict on businesses, investors, and individuals. Furthermore, it considers both quantitive and qualitative factors to assess a country’s preparedness to regulate drones.

drone readiness index

The Index has six components. The first one is Applicability. As such, it measures if a country mentions drones in their legislations and if these legislations have recently been reviewed. Human Resources is the second component. This one takes into account the role of regulation in employing and training pilots and other essential staff in the drone industry.

Next, the third component takes into consideration the Administrative Infrastructure. It tests the influence of the infrastructure which is used for responsible utilization. The Operational Limits aspect, as another component, explores the details about the law’s permission to operate with drones on a country’s territory. Subsequently, the fifth component works on the Airspace Integration. What’s more, the component looks at the country’s efforts in traffic management and the level of integration of drones in the airspace. Eventually, the last component is Social Acceptance. With it, the Index gauges the safety of data as well as the privacy regarding the owner and other stakeholders. Based on these six components, a country has a complete drone-readiness ranking.

How Ready are the African Countries?

From 2017, another DRI is in effect. The Index’s presentation was a part of an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference on the challenges for a data-driven society. This Drone Readiness Index presently focuses on the African countries. With that being said, the team hopes to increase its scope of countries in the future.

Overall, the aim of this Index is to assess the readiness of an ecosystem when it comes to drone projects. Further, this Index doesn’t necessarily concentrate on just regulations. Instead, it views them as an integral part of a wide variety of factors that contribute to drone projects. In short, the Index measures if a country is ready for a drone project.

drone readiness index

Contrary to the before-mentioned DRI, this Index has four components. They are environment, readiness, usage, and impact. Each component has a few sub-indices. In total, the Index has nine sub-indices. Among them are regulations, investment, research and development, local capacity, communication and energy, technology, drones’ projects, and economic and social impact.

When it saw the light of day in 2017, this Index identified Mauritius, South Africa, and Tanzania as the top three African countries. These countries lead the pack in terms of capability to successfully execute drone projects. Additionally, Rwanda and Nigeria are following closely behind.

Proof of this is the vast usage of drones in these countries. For one, Rwanda has recently made the headlines due to their medical drones.

The Challenges Drone Regulation and the Drone Readiness Index Face in the Future

To sum up, the legal matter regarding drones is constantly changing to adapt to the new environment. Most of the regulations, which are in effect today, have been established around 2012. In some cases, that happened even earlier. So, they don’t include the recent developments of the technology nor the ones coming soon.

Consequently, experts point the finger to a few challenges. They include creating a system of unmanned aircraft traffic management (UTM), certifying drone parts as well as platforms, considering special protocols and instructions for complicated flight missions, shortening the application period for obtaining flight permits, and more. How a country handles these issues in the future will seriously determine its Drone Readiness Index ranking.

Finally, keep an eye on our blog for more topics about everything drone-related. In the meantime, check out how the Macedonian law regulates the usage of drones.