Pioneering enabling technologies
In Europe, drone classification falls into one of three categories. Open (<25kg and inside the Visual Line of Sight), Specified (<150kg and possibly outside the line of sight) and Certified (>150kg and high risk). The proliferation Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the open category has forced airspace authorities to define the procedures to enable safe operation. The employment of larger drone systems (from a regulatory perspective) is in a state of flux, as no regulation has been agreed and requires each large drone platform to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is up to the operator to demonstrate it is safe by design (platform), safe to engineer (airworthiness) and can be operated safely (operators).
Historically (and predominately due to cost and risk appetite) large UAS sales were aimed at the defence market. However, as technology advances, systems are becoming more accessible for civilian operations which brings significant challenges with regard to maintaining their safety and ensuring the safety of other air users.