The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a draft of regulations on unmanned aircraft management on its official website in January, inviting suggestions on it. This is the first national draft for the regulations of unmanned aircraft.
Drones, mostly small, unmanned aircraft, have become popular for surveying and photography in recent years,with many observers deeming it necessary to improve regulations over these remote controlled devices.
The highlight of the draft is that it no longer sticks to the principle of demanding all unmanned aircraft to apply for their flight. Light and small unmanned aircraft are exempt from application if they fly below 50 meters. Small aircraft are allowed to fly in designated areas on the condition that they upgrade their software on time.
Drones have big market potential in China. Most of the products are bought for aerial photography as well as taking selfies. How to balance aerial control and safety, as well as the growth of the drone market, has been a pertinent issue. The draft is expected to resolve this debate.
With rapid growth in sales and sharp technological advantages, some Chinese drone producers now rank among the leading companies in the world. They have expressed concern about the impact of more stringent regulation, but the release of the draft should allay fears of a negative impact on their business.
Today, aerial technologies are more developed, which makes it possible to offer better regulation over unmanned aircraft, striking a balance between public safety and individual freedom. A new series of measures, including real-name registration, are expected to be implemented in the coming years.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Qianjiang Evening News on January 29)