Thinking on this a little more, they’ve all had a repeatable standard for a long time.
Obtain cheapest parts, cheapest labor, assemble at lowest possible cost, sell at high mark up, let buyers validate (test) soft and firmware, release follow on model containing “fixes” for customer exposed defects, sell new model to customers.
I would welcome a ISO standard, although more from my job point of view. Getting UAS or RPAS airborne with a certification is currently a gamble. You can only hope for a cooperative agent at the certification authorities with a clear understanding of what you've been doing during development. They are well experienced in certifying helicopters and planes, but some of them don't know, where to pull the brakes when applying these rules on small unmanned systems with MTOWs of <500kg.
If all the drone manufacturers will be able to keep up to the ISO requirements will be the big question - my guess: a lot of the clones manufactured by toy companies will disappear.
Same as for the drone operation rules it will become interesting in the future!
ISO standards applied to manufacturing would be a very welcome improvement. From the poor workmanship I’ve seen seen on the circuitry and failures right after unboxing, it is obvious that manufacturing processes and testing techniques need an overhaul.
One thing I saw in the article about ISO standards dealing with UAS etiquette made no sense though. The only way that is going to work is if we adopt worldwide airspace rules. I can’t see the ruling authorities around the world giving up their autonomy to a worldwide standard.
Just for general awareness, a world government UAS conference established that all countries would adopt common operating rules and regulations and implement them no later than 2012. The EU and AU worked pretty hard on making that date but the U.S. FAA failed to act on time, blaming lack of data as cause. Both Australia and The Netherlands have been flying commercial and military drones in civilian airspace for quite some time. I believe a couple more EU countries have as well. In fact, the U.S. has been flying them in civilian airspace extensively since at least 2004 but only for government and law enforcement purposes.
Fact is, our FAA has yet to achieve or enact recommendations established in 2008 and the commercial drone branches of the aerospace industry put in place to develop rules and advise the FAA have been quite successful in causing further delays until rules favoring their businesses are fleshed out. Our FAA is currently close to a decade behind other countries in drone airspace operations.
All certification authorities were a bit lazy and didn't really know how to deal with "the new kid in town" . The practice to stick to a best practice approach suggested by the companies dealing with unmanned systems day by day is a good one - slow, but good. A top-to-bottom approach would have been fatal, as regulations would have become very strict, I assume.
By now, companies and governments (they feel the need to show up with some future technologies ) are pushing FAA & Co to get this up and running and I would say, that 2018 was a big step forward. Our customers are keen on getting their systems certified for use in civil airspace!
ISO by itself won’t get much done. It only establishes consistent and repeatable practices are employed. Equipment certification is what corporate and government minions are used to dealing with as they can find the certification number and description on the forms provided by their superiors. As they are forbidden from deviating from published standards and protocols, and the desire to think independently has been displaced by threats of unemployment, they have no incentive to be creative or perform enlightening research to make independent decisions.
Of course the ISO can be only considered as a tool, a guideline. Owning a ISO certification only means, that one day of a year - the audit day - your company runs as described in the standard . I've got our company through the ISO9001 and 14001 and currently preparing us to achieve a 9100 certification, so I know how much it depends on the auditors experience and goodwill whether you get your certification or not. What you really do, to "live" the processes described in the standards in daily business is mostly up to you.
For the certification authorities it's kinda same - you have to deal with design objectives that are filled with recommendations and a big wishlist of how to act. Without an advisor, who has experience in interpreting these objectives and how the authorities want them to be realized you're lost!
Having a standard at least makes companies aware, that their approach might have some flaws . Dealing with a development crew, all with MIT master diploma for aviation design, electronics and whatsoever, me, as a purchase and supply chain guy, had to tell them, that controlling a rudder by 2 uncased wires over a length of 8m along the tail boom won't be a good idea!? In that case, a design review by a second, independent person would have helped . Another example: customer orders a redundant actuator and asks for a signal split cable for the input??? Okay, please, turn around and try again .
The more I learn about the aviation industry, the more I'm surprised by the low rate of fatal accidents .