The body that reviews the law in England and Wales is to examine the legal framework on self-piloting aircraft, according to the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales.
The body said that the two-year review of autonomous flight would identify the challenges and opportunities linked to the introduction of highly automated aviation systems.
The Gazette points out that, while automation is well established in aviation, recent breakthroughs in drone technology have created the prospect of fleets of fully autonomous craft roaming the skies, carrying people and goods.
The commission's review, funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Civil Aviation Authority, will identify the legal challenges raised.
For example, the Air Navigation Order currently requires the person in charge of a drone to “maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft”.
Increased automation had the potential to deliver substantial benefits to the entire aviation system, industry, and the public, the Law Commission said.
“To realise these benefits, the UK’s legislative and regulatory framework needs to be sufficiently agile to facilitate innovation, whilst robust enough to maintain the high safety standards that aviation enjoys,” it added.
Nicholas Paines QC (law commissioner for public law) stated that a comprehensive review would ensure that there was “a robust, future-proofed legal framework” that would maintain high safety standards, while also encouraging innovation.