Government to build online tool for registering drones and administering operator safety tests

Written by Sam Trendall on 6 August 2018 in News
News

Civil Aviation Authority issues contract notice ahead of new laws coming into effect next year

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The government is to build an online service for registering drones and administering safety tests for users. 

From 30 November next year, anyone who owns a drone weighing 250g or more will need to register the vehicle with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As part of this process, drone owners will also be required to complete an online test of their safety knowledge.

These requirements were included in a range of new legislative measures introduced in May by the Department for Transport.

CAA has kicked off the process of building an online tool to allow owners to register their drones and take the government’s safety test. 

The authority has issued a contract notice via the Digital Marketplace seeking a supplier to undertake the discovery phase of the development project, and then “provide input into the proposed approach to deliver the alpha and beta phases”.


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The eight-week discovery process will include “undertaking user research, developing UX wireframes, [and an] operational model impact assessment”, the notice said. Once all this work has been done, the chosen supplier will be expected to “suggest an appropriate solution to meet the functional [and] non-functional requirements… this could include configuring an existing application or building the service”.

Work on the discovery phase is expected to be worth between £125,000 and £175,000 to the winning bidder. In bidding for this initial stage of the project, potential suppliers should also include a broad estimate for what they believe it would cost to complete the alpha and private beta phases – schedule to respectively last 14 and 26 weeks – as well as providing 12 weeks of ongoing support ongoing support during the public-beta phase. These estimates can be refined during the discovery phase, the CAA said.

The site will need to be live in public beta mode from 1 October 2019, two months ahead of the new laws coming into force. 

Bids are open until 16 August, after which the CAA expects to evaluate up to 10 suppliers. A contract scheduled to commence on 14 September, and work will take place at the authority’s locations at Gatwick Airport and in central London.

The new drone laws unveiled earlier this year are designed to promote safety by reducing accidents and increasing accountability. Other measures being introduced are a ban on drones flying above 400ft or within 1km of airport boundaries.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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