A Vanguard Defense unmanned surveillance drone. Photo: Vanguard

A Vanguard Defense unmanned surveillance drone. Photo: Vanguard

The association representing manufacturers of unmanned aircraft released a code of conduct for the design, testing, and operation of the aircraft that includes recommendations for "safe, non-intrusive operation."

The guidelines are meant for manufacturers and users, including law enforcement agencies, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

The code provides a checklist for operations and "a means to demonstrate their obligation to supporting the growth of the industry in a safe and responsible manner," according to a statement from AUVSI.

"The emergence of unmanned aircraft systems represents one of the most significant advancements to aviation, the scientific community, and public service since the beginning of flight," said Michael Toscano, president and CEO of AUVSI. "With a commitment to safety, professionalism and respect, we can ensure unmanned aircraft are integrated responsibly into civil airspace."

The guidelines give recommendations about when and by whom unmanned aircraft should be flown to minimize risk. The guidelines also commit to respecting other users of the airspace and the privacy of individuals.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act signed into law on Feb. 14 included a provision requiring the FAA to safely integrate unmanned craft into the national airspace. The law created several deadlines for the FAA so unmanned vehicles could be used by September 2015.

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