Drones have an ever-increasing number of applications in the army, logistics, agriculture or life-saving services, and are gaining popularity among many enthusiasts and companies in Poland.
The first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, were developed and used by the army. Today, however, there are more and more civilian and commercial drones that are used for filming from the air, protection and monitoring, detecting threats, and saving lives.
Profitable business venture
According to report on drone market in Poland, published at the end of 2017 by the Institute for Market, Consumption and Business Cycles Research (IBRKK) and Mikromakro Institute, the domestic drone market is one of the leading in the world. According to the report, about 100,000 drones, weighing from 250 g to as much as 600 kg, are used in Poland. Moreover, last year, as many as 6.5 thousand people were granted a certificate entitling to the commercial use of these machines in Poland, not to mention 272 business entities that generated revenue thanks to drones.
Important development incentives for the market and the UAV industry should be the implementation of U-Space, the implementation of the flagship project “Żwirko i Wigura” by the Polish Regional Development Fund under the Strategy for Responsible Development, and support for the most interesting new technical solutions under the INNOSBZ Innovative Unmanned System Program, conducted by the National Center for Research and Development.
Polish legal regulations
The high number of drones in Poland, both the one belonging to enthusiasts and those used in business, results from, among others, relatively liberal provisions regulating their use. Whereas recreational use of machinery weighing less than 25 kg does not require a license and its operation is allowed at heights of more than 100 m from buildings, and 30 m from people and vehicles (does not apply to drones weighing less than 0.6 kg), their use for commercial purposes requires a qualification certificate (issued by the CAA after completing the relevant course and passing the theoretical and practical exams), aero-medical examination and insurance.
It is also necessary to mark the drone with a label with the owner’s name as well as lights, if the device is operated at night. For safety reasons, operating drones within sight is limited in some airspaces, e.g. in the airport’s control area, unless you obtain the permission from the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency. The operator must also ensure safe flight, so that the drone will not hurt people, damage property or other airspace users.
For reasons connected with civil aviation safety, the Civil Aviation Authority has created latajzglowa.pl website, which aims at drawing attention to the most important principles of safe operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. The social campaign called “Drones – fly safely” (lataj.pro) organized by LOT Classic Foundation shares the same aim.
DroneRadar, a partner of lataj.pro campaign, says that currently over 40 thousand people uses DroneRadar application monthly to check the airspace before flying a drone.
Drones in Małopolska
The popularity of drones results in their increasingly better quality, availability, and more extensive commercial use. Some of the interesting Polish companies operating in the drone market are Dronavista, owned by Tomasz Galat from Nowy Sącz. The company is currently working with AGH University of Science and Technology on a new power model that can increase the range of drones, and thus allowing, for example, its use by GOPR when looking for people, or in forestry to monitor animals.
The versatility of drones makes it easier to adapt them to business models, whereas the growing interest is becoming the driving force for companies that are involved in their production, sales and training in their operation.