Just a few years ago unmanned drones were used primarily by the military or a niche hobby; today, novinky.cz writes, the situation has changed, with plenty of firms producing unmanned flying devices hoping to profit generously. What’s more, the government is aiming to create a special test area in Brdy, a former military zone south of Prague. The site could be used by both state institutions and private firms.
According to the Czech daily Právo, the idea for a drone testing site was initiated by the Transport Ministry, making use of part of what will next year no longer be classified as a military zone but as a protected nature site. The information has since been confirmed by the ministry’s spokesman, Tomáš Nerold, who said the matter was now being discussed by representatives from the Transport, Defence, and Trade and Industry ministries together with Czech Civil Aviation Authority and Air Navigation Services. The aim, he told the daily, was to support the gradual integration of unmanned systems into public air space.
It is understood that the process will include development, testing and perhaps some kind of certification. Experts say that drones are becoming more and more accessible, both in terms of cost and technology, and are now an option for almost anyone. The cheapest drone can set buyers back just a few thousand crowns while professional models, capable of flying higher and longer or tricked out with complex surveillance systems, ie. cameras, microphones, infrared, can cost in the millions.
Companies, the daily reports, would welcome a testing area in their backyard, as opposed to travelling to a similar facility in Munich in neighbouring Germany. Právo quotes a business manager of a Brno-based drone manufacturer who makes clear a test site within the Czech Republic would be most welcome. The firm in question produces two models: the smaller is used for surveillance, the larger for transporting items weighing up to 15 kilos.
A test site in Brdy, could be used to test operation of the devices in less than ideal conditions: in poor weather and poor visibility such as in fog. Others eminently interested in using drones in future operations is understandably the military, but also the film industry, relying on getting TV or film aerial shots at fairly low cost one could scarcely imagine before.
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