Accelerating the Potential of Drones for Local Government

 

The ‘Accelerating the Potential of Drones for Local Government’ project is led by Dublin City Council (DCC) and co-funded by the Public Service Innovation Fund (PSIF) to “Accelerate the potential of drones across local government”, with the support of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) and Maynooth University to explore and identify the potential of drones technologies for local government.

Drones’ technology is seeing significant evolution and market growth – there are widespread use across public services internationally and Ireland is no exception particularly in DCC across multiple services. We are seeing this across the Irish public sector as well to enhance and support operations such as emergency response, surveying and mapping, planning and enforcement, pollution control and traffic monitoring. As the drone market matures, so too do the opportunities to better use this technology to deliver safer, more efficient services.

This project presents a unique opportunity to position the local government as a leader in the application of drone technologies addressing a number of key challenges relating to drone operations including compliance, business models, health & safety, privacy and understanding innovation potential. The funding has supported the development of a series of best practice guides, frameworks, case studies, online learning materials, citizen surveys and workshops for the sector, accelerating new opportunities and innovation potential for drones across Ireland.

Project Activities

See Press Release for project close out event (June 2022): “Future Proofing Dublin’s skies as thousands of drone flights predicted to be in operation by 2030” 

Workstream 1. Best and Emerging Practice 

Development of research examining international best practice in local government drone usage. This includes investigating operational businesses models and identifying emerging trends and opportunities for drone applications with a set of recommendations.

International Best and Emerging Practices Report

Workstream 2. Compliance, Trust and Safety 

Development of guidance to support drone operators.

Drone User Handbook: Data Protection (Privacy)

Drone User Handbook: Regulation (Operations)

Public survey to gauge views on drone applications and trust in local government (Over 900 respondents October – November 2021)

Workstream 3. Strategic Futures, positioning Ireland as an innovation leader

Establishment of a cross-sectoral national ‘Future of Drones’ national steering group, bringing together the public sector, industry and academia in order to accelerate drone innovation opportunities, explore emerging national issues such as the role of local authorities in managing ‘low airspace’, and facilitate the national alignment with public agencies.

Workstream 4. Knowledge Sharing

Establishment of a cross-sectoral national ‘Future of Drones’ national steering group, bringing together the public sector, industry and academia in order to accelerate drone innovation opportunities, explore emerging national issues such as the role of local authorities in managing ‘low airspace’, and facilitate the national alignment with public agencies.

 

Impact

By co-ordinating work and developing shared resources, this project has:

  • Understood the national sentiment towards drones and other emerging technologies, overall, very positive. However, concerns around privacy, safety and security must be addressed to ensure trust, transparency, and awareness.
  • Informed local government and policy makers on international best and emerging practices internationally, with a set of recommendations, especially around collaboration and open discussion, regulations, define roles and responsibilities and ensure public trust and market opportunities to develop industry and use cases.
  • Developed two handbooks for drone users on local government to upskill and have guidelines about UAS (drones) regulations/operations and data protection in Ireland to ensure compliance.
  • Established a network across multi government agencies at local and national level to share knowledge and accelerate the potential of drones in Ireland.

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