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Dubai passes new regulation “to help flying taxis and drone deliveries to take off” alongside network of mini airports

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has issued a new regulation to initiate the ‘Sky Dome’ project that soon will see Dubai’s skies buzzing with delivery drones and air taxis, connected via landing pads and mini airports on top of city buildings, reports khaleejtimes.com.

This recent law will pave the way for granting immediate government permits and NOCs to public and private firms involved with unmanned craft and related services.

It is the first step towards creating an infrastructure for drone systems and facilitates the development of an integrated framework for licensing and issuing certificates, permits, NOCs, and inspection services related to the drone industry, as well as a legal system for investigating accidents and incidents. An integrated drone business system will also create an important new revenue stream for Dubai’s economy, officials said.

The law will help the city position itself as a centre for the manufacturing of drones and smart transportation. The unmanned craft transport systems market consists mainly of delivery of goods, transport of passengers and freight, and surveying and imaging. In 2017, Dubai tested the world’s first self-flying taxi service.

Reacting to the new law, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), said it establishes the framework for the emirate to be one of the world’s leading cities in “shaping the future of civil aviation”.

“The new law supports the implementation of the DCAA’s Dubai Sky Dome initiative, which seeks to build a structural eco-system for UAVs,” he continued. “In cooperation with the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai, the initiative has created a detailed drone systems policy.”

Mohammed Abdullah Ahli, Director-General of the DCAA and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services, explained the project would create a master plan for the infrastructure of ground stations and their use as airports; loading and connecting stations; and maintenance, operation and freight stations. It will also classify the main urban areas for the distribution of ground and air service sites.

Another key component of the project is a unique integrated smart platform for providing regulatory services for UAVs to use domestic airspace and other related government services. The digital platform will grant instant permits and no-objection certificates for drone operations. It will also facilitate efficient governance of the sector to ensure security and safety and prevent any disruption to the civil aviation airspace.

Obaid Saif Al Nuaimi, Director of Aviation Security and Dangerous Goods at the DCAA, said that one of the important components of the project is a system to address safety and security risks of drone activities. The ‘Dubai Shield’ system will “detect and track drones and take necessary counter measures in cooperation with relevant government and security authorities,” he said.

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