UAS dossier updated for 2022
Sep 26, 2022 by Jonathan Watson


Are unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) ready for take-off? According to our updated UAS dossier, the answer is yes, but a lack of clear rules is keeping them on the ground.

In 2022, two key barriers remain—slow progress in developing regulations and standards for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) UAS operations, and the feasibility of UAS use of fixed satellite service (FSS) spectrum.

BVLOS refers to drones that can be operated by a person who can’t see them, as opposed to those that only work if their operator can see them. BVLOS operations currently require special authorizations, typically on a one-off basis.

The lack of international rules has led national regulators to start developing their own approaches. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is due to produce rules soon in the US. In the UK, the regulator Ofcom held a consultation over the summer on its proposed new spectrum licence for drone operators.

In Australia, ACMA intends to enable interim licensing arrangements in the 5055—5065 MHz range, ahead of more permanent options that are still under consideration.

The ITU-R has determined that the growing BVLOS sector needs more spectrum and it seems that FSS spectrum might fit the bill. This is being considered under agenda item (AI) 1.8 of WRC-23, which will possibly lead to new rules in a number of bands between 10 GHz and 30 GHz.

However, the process will not be easy. Many think the use of satellite transmitters in FSS bands could cause an unacceptable amount of interference to FSS.

Research service subscribers can read all about this and more in our updated dossier on UAS. It’s available here.