Wednesday, January 22, 2020

DGCA picks five consortiums to take its drone plan airborne

Bengaluru: Nandan Nilekani backed ShopX and SpiceJet’s cargo unit SpiceXpress are among five consortiums selected by India’s civil aviation authority to conduct experiments of long-range commercial drone flights, people familiar with the matter told ET.
 The move is part of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone experiments, for which it had sought expressions of interest in May last year.
 ET reported in December that DGCA had approved two consortiums – of delivery app Dunzo and drone startup Throttle Aerospace – for the experiments.
 “These agencies will now conduct their tests, based on which we will then develop the entire architecture for the beyond visual line of sight drone operations,” said Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, without either confirming or denying the latest developments.
 “This is just at the experimentation stage, the rules will take at least 6-8 months to be finalised,” Dubey added.
 The second batch of approvals comes ahead of a planned drone pilot training programme that the DGCA is organising on February 4-5 at Begumpet, near Hyderabad. All 30 consortiums that had applied to participate in the BVLOS experiments have been invited.
 22/01/20 Alnoor Peermohamed/Economic Times
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