The roadmap has been developed as an initiative under the National Emerging Aviation Technologies(NEAT) Policy Statement, released by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in May 2021.
Following this announcement, our Aviation Safety Advisory Panel set up a technical working group (TWG) to help co-design the roadmap with industry. The TWG consisted of 12 core members with 47 industry participants, and 73 total participants, across subsequent sub-working groups.
The TWG considered the requirements of the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and advanced air mobility (AAM) sectors across 4 time horizons. These were:
immediate term - 2022 to 2023
near term - 2023 to 2026
medium term- 2026 to 2031
long term - 2031 to 2036.
There were 9 primary use cases for RPAS and AAM and 6 regulatory areas identified and the progression of each discussed across these time horizons.
We converted the work from the TWG into the draft roadmap that was open for consultation from 8 March to 19 April 2022. We received 109 submissions from individuals and organisations across both the RPAS and AAM sectors, as well as the broader aviation community. While the majority of responses were positive, extra consideration for the recreational drone and model aircraft operators, and cybersecurity was taken into account in the final roadmap.
The roadmap has been developed through this collaborative process to make sure the activities outlined will best support the ambitions of industry while ensuring a safe environment for aviation in Australia.
The TWG also identified 2 key themes across the regulatory activities.
Demystification of current regulations
Many of the use cases discussed with the technical working group are possible under the current regulations. Yet, the requirements and pathways to carry out these activities can be unclear and confusing for some operators.
More guidance and better tools are needed to help industry understand what is required from us to carry out complex RPAS and AAM operations under current legislation.
Changes to the existing aviation safety regulations will be needed to support the new technologies and types of operations envisaged by the RPAS and AAM sectors. These changes will make sure an acceptable level of safety is maintained for all airspace users.
We will consider what impacts this may have across all Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) parts, not just Part 101 of CASR. We will continue to be guided by the work of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and other aviation safety regulators in determining what changes are needed.