International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) members have agreed that, for the 2015-16 season, they will not allow the recreational use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the coastal areas of Antarctica.
The agreement was made at IAATO’s 26th Annual Meeting in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 28 to 30 April 2015, which was attended by over 130 people, making it the organization’s largest gathering to date. A broad range of interests were represented at the meeting, including member companies, governments, charitable trusts and others with a vested interest in Antarctica’s future.
Recognizing the value of UAVs for research and certain commercial uses, such as documentary filmmaking, the intent is to ensure that their use is contained and carefully controlled. The ban will be reviewed next year to allow for potential technological advances and further developments within the regulatory community.
Bob Simpson, new Chair of IAATO’s Executive Committee said that in regulating Antarctic activities such as UAV usage, members of the organization “Sit down together and constructively discuss how to manage their activities in a way that will have no more than a minor or transitory impact on the Antarctic environment. It’s a challenge embraced by all members.”
Unfortunately, this means that there won’t be seeing any more UAV films like the breath-taking “Antarctica” recently released by Swedish filmmaker Kalle Ljung.