As drones start to proliferate in our skies, Norway and the EU face a big challenge: how to take advantage of the technology's vast potential while mitigating its significant safety and security risks. Meeting this challenge will require a totally new way of imagining and regulating the civilian airspace ? a demanding task given the complexity of the technology involved, the high speed of technological progress, and the many actors seeking to influence the process.
The project?s initial activities have shown some important preliminary results. Drones remain a safety and security threat in civilian airspaces, and today?s technological responses are not capable to address that threat. Additionally, national and European regulations remain an obstacle to both drone use and to responding to the potential threat they pose. The project team is engaged with key stakeholders in Norway and in Europe, and its preliminary findings have been widely discussed with policy makers, drone users, and security officials.
As drones evolve and proliferate, Norway and the EU face a daunting challenge: how to unlock the technology's vast potential while mitigating its significant safety and security risks. Rising to meet this challenge will require a total reconceptualization of the civilian airspace – a formidable task given the complexity of the systems involved, the high rate of technological progress, and the multiplicity of stakeholders seeking to steer its outcomes.
What are the unique security considerations that will shape the process, and how will those considerations evolve as the technology advances? What are the various discursive roles of communities of knowledge and practice in shaping regulatory responses to the challenge? And what can we learn from other regulatory bodies working to resolve the same challenges elsewhere? So far, efforts to address these questions in the EU and Norwegian contexts have lacked the input of various academic disciplines that are uniquely equipped with specialized knowledge on technological transformation and reconceptualization. Two fields in particular, Critical Security Studies (CSS) and Science and Technology Studies (STS), hold particular promise in this regard. Drawing on eminent experts and practitioners from these key communities of knowledge and practice in the EU, Norway, Canada, and the US, RegulAIR seeks to bridge that fundamental gap by bringing cutting-edge research, advanced technology forecasting, stakeholder mapping, and constructive multi-stakeholder dialogues to bear on the drone integration challenge. In this way, the project will significantly enhance Norway's and the EU's capacities for reconceptualizing the airspace, while providing concrete knowledge-based recommendations on how to safely integrate drones in the civilian airspace and meet the expectations of end-users, regulatory bodies, industry entrepreneurs, and law enforcement agencies.