UL's Safety Standard for Battery Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Helps Make Skies Safer
- UL 3030 certification designed to ensure battery operated systems used to power remote-controlled drones meet rigorous safety criteria
- Standard designed to make help ensure electrical system mitigates risk of fire, electric shock and other hazardous malfunctions that can result in damage to property and personal injury
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 17 April 2018: With drone technology expected to flow into the MENA region in the next decade, global safety science firm UL has now created a platform designed to help ensure the safety of lithium-ion battery powered unmanned aerial systems.
The UL 3030 Standard establishes a baseline for electrical systems to help mitigate It electric shock and fire hazards and enables common expectation of safe use.
It covers commercial (e.g. agricultural, scientific, research, video for film industry or news broadcasts and roof inspections) and tactical (e.g. government, local police and search & rescue) applications for UAVs operated by trained pilots.
Drone technology has seen huge growth globally and in the MENA region in recent years.
The Commercial Drone / UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Market is expected to reach USD 17 billion by 2024; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.*
With several well-documented accidents caused by drones, the UL 3030 Standard acknowledges an urgent need to lower the potential risk and liability of businesses who produce or sell lithium-ion powered drones as well as also protecting owners.
Engaging with UL early in the UAV design process allows manufacturers and distributors to access compliance expertise and valuable tools that can help avoid obstacles during design, production and certification.
For example one entire drone line-up had to undergo emergency firmware update to prevent overheating of the batteries which is addressed in the system approach of UL 3030.
The availability of this testing and certification program is relevant, as recent legislation has been introduced by the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) to oversee the ownership, use, safety and distribution of drones within the UAE.
All stores that stock drones, as well as owners and importers, are now required to be registered with ESMA’s ‘My Drone’ system.
Owners who fail to abide by the new rules face fines of more than AED 20,000**.
Concerns over the safety of the technology used in drones is being addressed around the world. In the USA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent agency of the government established to promote the safety of products and tackle risks of injury, found more than 200 incidents of fire caused by malfunctioning drones, with 50 per cent occurring while the drone was charging.***
Operating out of offices in Dubai and a state-of-the-art lab facility in Abu Dhabi, UL is a well renowned advocate for safety through the adoption of new technologies.
Its safety standard for battery-powered drones is designed to avoid a repeat of the issues that have affected the sale and production of hoverboards.
Some models of the popular electric-powered personal transport devices were found to be prone to overheating and in some cases caught fire resulting in damage to property, injuries to users and even death.
As a result, hoverboards were removed from sale at major stores and banned from being kept in passengers’ luggage by several airlines.
UL’s expert science, research and engineering teams developed the appropriate requirements and methodology with the UL 2272 Standard to confidently evaluate and test the entire self-balancing scooter for electrical and fire-hazard safety as a system.
As the commercial and private use of drones increases each year, with the devices used for tasks such as delivery, fire inspection and filming, their continued use is dependent on the safety and reliability of electric and battery technologies.
Hamid Syed, Vice President & GM, UL Middle East, said: “UL has channeled its years of expertise, knowledge and research into energy creation and power sources into a set of standards, protocols and guidelines to help prevent the range of problems that can be caused by malfunctioning.
“There is a rapid increase in the use of drones for commercial and tactical reasons, and they require safe battery and electrical systems.
UL believes that the present safety challenges must be proactively addressed.”
With so many sectors actively using drones, it was important that the UL 3030 Standard involved leaders in the aviation and technology industries to map out this vital step towards safety.
The companies and organisations that work with UL to develop the UL 3030 Standard include global technology and drone firm Intel, leading drone manufacturer DJI, the Association for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems International, the Airline Pilots Association, the Beijing Research Institute of Automation for Machinery, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Transport Canada.
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