Dubai’s new drone laws to pave way for commercial UAV usage


A recent law issued in Dubai facilitating a much wider usage of commercial drones in the UAE will be a key component in the development of the “Dubai Sky Dome” initiative, according to regulatory body, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA).

Law No.4, unveiled earlier this year in Dubai, facilitates the development of an integrated framework for licensing and issuing certificates, permits, NOCs and inspection services related to drone systems, and a legal system for investigating drone accidents and incidents.

As such, it will create “a structural eco-system for drones” that will transform Dubai into a virtual airspace infrastructure for unmanned aerial vehicles systems able to connect places and buildings through runways and miniature airports across the city, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of DCAA.

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This is has all been designed to facilitate the DCAA’s “Dubai Sky Dome” initiative, which is set to be a virtual airspace for unmanned aircraft capable of executing a host of functions from delivering goods, monitoring traffic and even acting as an alternative “sky taxi” system.

Drone airports

The new Dubai Sky Dome network will include ground stations to be used as drone airports and loading and connecting stations, plus stations for maintenance, operation and freight stations. It will also classify the main urban areas of Dubai with the aim of building a model for the distribution of ground and air service sites.

The move is the latest piece in Dubai’s Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy, which seeks to ensure a quarter of all journeys in the emirate are take on autonomous transport by 2030. Back in June 2019, The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced the signing of an agreement with the German Volocopter Company; a specialist in the manufacturing of Autonomous Air Vehicles, to launch the first vehicle capable of carrying two passengers.

“Dubai Civil Aviation Authority is constantly looking to develop initiatives that support His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of making Dubai a global pioneer and leader in shaping future sectors,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed added.

“Drone systems represent one of the most promising emerging technologies in the civil aviation and transport sector. In cooperation with the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai, the ‘Dubai Sky Dome’ initiative has created a detailed drone systems policy.”

Other project components can also now be implemented, including an aviation traffic management system for drones, the “Dubai Shield” system to manage security related to the use of drones, and the master plan for the infrastructure for airports, stations and ground and air service locations.

Another forthcoming initiative is an integrated smart platform for providing regulatory services for UAVs to use domestic airspace and other related government services. The digital platform will grant instant government permits and no-objection certificates for drone operations.

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