The first meeting of the “Conseil pour les drones civils“ (Council for Civil Drones), took place on 4 June 2015, under the chairmanship of Patrick Gandil, the director general of the French civil aviation authority. At this meeting a review was made of the work accomplished within the framework of the first phase of the French government’s “New Industrial France” initiative. The ”Conseil pour les drones civils” consists of representatives of the national professional drone federation (FPDC), the national aeronautical and space industry trade association (GIFAS), various aeronautical industrial groups, operators, public utility companies, agricultural cooperatives, academia, competence clusters, and governmental authorities from various ministries & agencies. It makes recommendations on behalf of the French RPAS community.
The ”Conseil pour les drones civils” has adopted a set of action plans encompassing three themes:
- Operations, Regulation & Use: To collectively identify future markets, frequency protection, remote pilot qualification, define the regulatory evolution necessary for the rational incremental development of the use of RPAS/drones;
- Technology & Security: To draw up a roadmap permitting to identify the most promising technologies and to coordinate the research efforts required to develop them (incl. test facilities);
- Support & Promotion: To facilitate the development of the national civil RPAS/drone community (export, communication & education, access to financing, insurance, data protection & privacy, general acceptance).
In each of these domains, it is the objective, by means of a pragmatic approach, to coordinate all national efforts at all levels and involve all players, in order to support the multiplication of the usage of civil RPAS/drones and the development of civil RPAS/drone-related innovative technologies and services.
With the support of the “Direction générale des entreprises“ (an agency of the French Ministry of Economy, Industry & Digital Matters, responsible for the development of the competitiveness & growth of industrial & service enterprises), the Council for Civil Drones watches over the correct integration of its action plan with the solutions of the second phase of the national “New Industrial France” initiative, named “Transport of Tomorrow”, “Intelligent Objects” and “Digital Confidence”, and in particular the technological projects identified by its technical roadmap.
The current French civil RPAS/drone community consists of well over 2300 companies and the economic activity associated with this budding community (2147 RPA operators deploying 3851 RPA; 140 approved RPAS producers; 398 granted RPA type certificates Quantities valid on Nov 2015) already represents several hundred million Euros per year. The rapid development of the French RPAS/drone community is the fruit of the conjunction of a balanced regulation, a dense network of very innovative micro, small & medium-sized companies, a long national aeronautical tradition, and visionary agricultural users and public utility companies.