Japan “to relax rules on commercial BVLOS drone operations”

The Japan Times (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/30/national/law-drone-assistants-scrapped-favor-remote-observation/#.WyK6lKinHIX) reports that a law requiring that a safety assistant be present during long-distance commercial drone operations will be scrapped, according to new rules announced Thursday by the transport and industry ministries.

“Under the rule change planned for the end of the year, when flying a drone that moves beyond an operator’s line of sight, a safety assistant will no longer be required to keep the aircraft in view if flight safety can be fully ensured remotely through devices such as cameras and sensors,” says the newspaper. “The government is seeking to make it easier for companies to use drones to deliver packages to difficult-to-reach places, with the aim of making them able to fully service mountainous areas by the end of the year.”

“The new rules also say that, regardless of whether an operator is accompanied by an assistant, a drone that is out of sight must have a long safety record and stay below an altitude of 150 meters.”

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