Words By: Drone Major
Whilst the European Commission have delayed the EU UAS Implementing Regulation 2019/947 until 31 Dec 2020, they have not announced a delay to EU 2019/945 (unless we missed that announcement here at the DDG). This effectively means that new Drones introduced into the European market after 1 July 2021 have to abide by the EU Conformity rules in 2019/945 and must be CE marked.
So if you are a UK Drone designer, how do you go about getting the relevant CE mark for your Drone? Well, unless you are in the very lowest (C0) category, you will need to have your design and productions processes, and of course your drone capability, reliability and claimed specifications assessed by a Competent Assessment Body (CAB). The CAB would assess your product against a UK Scheme. Let’s just run through that again. In order for your Drone system to be assessed the UK has to set up a UK Scheme. This UK Scheme would need to be created and owned by a UK Gov Department, most likely the DfT. Once the UK Scheme is established by the DfT, a UK CAB (Notified Body) would need to be accredited as competent to carry out assessments under that UK Scheme by the UK Accreditation Services (UKAS).
As you can guess - all of this is not going to be put in place overnight. So how far along are we, the UK, on that journey? Well, the DDG, who represents the UK Drone industry, is unaware of any UK industry consultation from the DfT regarding a UK Scheme. We do know that normally it can take a year for a new assessment Scheme to be put in place and approved by UKAS. The DDG strongly advise UK Drone designers (CEOs) to start to make more noise on this issue. You could seek CE marking through a foreign entity, but this would likely cost more and take a lot longer.
Article by: Jamie Sayer at Boeing