New regulations governing remotely piloted aircraft systems (Drones) will be introduced by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Authority) by July 2015. The regulations aim to permit the use of Drones for commercial purposes, subject to certain conditions, legitimising their use for business applications and commercial research.
It is argued (by some) that current privacy and safety requirements are in direct conflict with the proposed business applications. Examples of this include the requirement for Drones not to fly directly over any person or group of persons, or within a lateral distance of 50m from any person or building, which would seem to have the ultimate effect of negating many commercial uses of the Drones (e.g. filming live events and crowd surveillance).
In a press release, Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, stated that businesses wanting to take full advantage of the commercial application of Drones may need to make an application for an exemption from these restrictive rules.