Time horizons

Australia was one of the first countries to legislate the operation of remotely piloted aircraft. Many of the future operations that will become common place are already occurring in Australia, although on a limited basis.

While we have been pivotal in supporting the growth of these sectors, to keep pace with the forecasted growth we will need to have a flexible and responsive regulatory framework.

This must be able to efficiently scale regulatory processes to effectively respond to increasing volumes of interactions with industry.

Over the next 2 years, continuing advancements in technology will improve the efficiency, affordability, and range of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). This is expected to increase the uptake of RPAS, particularly in the commercial sector. The use of drones and model aircraft for sport and recreation is also expected to stay high.

Read more about immediate term – 2022 to 2023.

In the next 5 years, the diversity of small to medium RPAS operations will be better understood with clearer approval pathways harmonised with national and international regulation.

The advanced air mobility (AAM) sector will begin to demonstrate the potential benefits it can provide through trials and demonstration activities.

Read more about near term – 2023 to 2026.

By 2030, most currently known use cases for RPAS are expected to be mature with expansive access to lower-level airspace and supporting regulations in place. Technologies enabling extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in shared airspace across both urban and rural environments will be commonplace.

The AAM sector will continue to mature with the introduction of the first commercial applications.

Read more about medium term – 2026 to 2031.

By the mid-2030s, low level airspace is expected to be occupied by large numbers of RPAS of different designs, purposes, and capabilities. This technology will provide a fast, cost-effective execution of previously labour-intensive operations.

Advancements in technology will also drive large numbers of aircraft types, with a blurring of lines between RPAS technologies, AAM and traditional aircraft systems.

Read more about long term – 2031 to 2036.

Published date: 3 June 2022
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//search-centre/corporate-plans/rpas-and-aam-strategic-regulatory-roadmap/time-horizons
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