Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) – International Transport Forum (ITF), International
Katja Schechtner is an urbanist who holds a dual appointment between OECD and MIT to develop new technologies and shape innovative policies to keep cities on the move. Currently she convenes ITF’s working group on drones, based on the 2018 publication: «Uncertain skies: Drones in the World of Tomorrow». Previously she worked at the Asian Development Bank implementing transport technology projects across Asia; formulated smart public space strategies for the Inter-American Development Bank in Costa Rica and Argentina; advised the EU Commission on Smart City programs and ran an applied research lab for Dynamic Transportation Systems at the Austrian Institute of Technology. Katja also holds a Visiting Professorship at Technical University Vienna and curates urban tech exhibitions across the globe.
The potential impacts of large commercial drone fleets are as yet not fully understood. Assessment of the potential impact on aviation has begun but appraisal is rarely addressed from a cross-sectoral perspective. Freight drones for urban goods deliveries and, eventually, drones for passenger travel, may have both positive impacts (e.g. improved connectivity in remote regions, traffic congestion alleviation, reduced travel times) and negative impacts (e.g. safety, privacy, noise, energy consumption, land use and visual amenity concerns). We explore how some of these impacts could be anticipated and included in appraisal guidelines to support the underlying policy goals of efficient, safe, sustainable and equitable transport. Although surveys have forecast likely public support for the use of drones, widespread introduction will need to be accompanied by regulation to address privacy, environmental, safety and security concerns. Current government regulation of drones tends to be either too restrictive (hampering the development of new designs), or lagging behind (causing reluctance among potential end-users to adopt drone use). Governments must, therefore, be acquainted with developments taking place in the international context of the industry. OECD/ITFs Working Group will explore the rapidly developing concept designs for drones and drone services, questions of acceptability of drone services, and their safe integration within the transport system as a whole. The Working Group will also consider the use of drones for different scales of payloads – both freight and passenger transport – as well as their potential as a support to other modes and aspects of transport, e.g. logistics, monitoring, maintenance and emergency services.