European drone association UVS International to close

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European drone trade association UVS International is to cease operations at the end next month because of a severe drop in income and the Covid-19 pandemic.

UVS (Unmanned Vehicle Systems) International was founded by Peter Van Blyenburgh in 1998 with 38 member companies, including BMW, Dassault and Phillips to promote the use of unmanned systems in air, land and naval domains.

Originally set up with a focus on the defense sector, its principal objective was to promote the establishment of national, European and international regulations for the safe use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and to promote the creation of the required standards and air traffic management norms. This agenda was pursued at both a European and international level with organisations such as EASA, the European Commission and ICAO.

According to a statement posted by UVS International on its website, its income from memberships fell as larger corporates were replaced with smaller civilian-drone focused companies. European regulations and rules have also been introduced and not had the anticipated level of success in stimulating growth in the sector, adds the statement.

“This situation has been further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the statement. “As a result, the association’s income has been in a downward spiral for several years.”

This association, which has offices in Paris is therefore being liquidated. The statement adds: “Together with our members, and many other stakeholders, we have travelled over a long and unchartered road through the aviation regulatory landscape, and have contributed to redesigning it, and making the European UAS regulation a reality.

“UVS International is proud of its contributions to furthering the goals of the UAS community and thanks its members for their participation in the association’s endeavors.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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