Droneresponders, a 501(c)3 non-profit public safety program, this month released what it’s calling the Five C’s: Principles on the Responsible Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies.
- Community Engagement and Transparency: reminding pilots it’s critical with the community you’re flying in
- Civil Liberties and Privacy Protection: suggesting that drone programs should be predicated on the protection of privacy and the promotion of civil liberties
- Common Operating Procedures: stating that departments need to establish operating procedures to account for best practice on topics including FAA compliance and procedures to protect privacy
- Clear Oversight and Accountability: establishing that agencies need “robust oversight measures designed to ensure compliance and accountability, along with clear oversight processes that combine both internal and external measures. ”
- Cybersecurity: reminding pilots that drones, which are network-connected devices, should be subject to cybersecurity reviews.
Droneresponders has 2,000 members across 30 countries, and focuses primarily on drone use for first responders, advocating for drones as a tool for good, particularly in emergency situations.
“Obtaining real-time awareness in dangerous scenarios results in better outcomes, greater accountability, and increased leadership involvement in events as they unfold,” according to a statement from Droneresponders. “Drones also provide a means of de-escalation–providing a perspective that allows for safe and thoughtful problem solving. Like body worn cameras, drones provide an account of what occurred.”
The Five Cs are backed by other major drone industry players, including Skydio, famous for its follow-me, crash-proof Skydio 2 drone.
Brendan Groves, Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs at Skydio, said the drone industry has long needed guidelines such as these.
“The most successful drone programs prioritized community engagement and the protection of privacy and civil liberties,” Groves said in a post on Medium. “Public safety, after all, is a public trust — and trust is always earned, never given.”
While safety standards and guidelines have long been touted among various drone non-profits, consumer-facing groups and advocacy organizations, none have the clangor like Five Cs.
“A variety of organizations have issued lengthy reports and model policies on public safety drone programs, but not all of those materials are user friendly,” Groves said, adding that pilots end up ‘swimming in information.’ “The ‘Five C’s’ deliver much-needed clarity.”
Skydio also recently released its own Skydio Engagement and Responsible Use Principles, which are a set of policy and ethical principles.