Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Usage Of Drone Technology In India: Changing Phases

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones can easily reach the most inaccessible places, which underscore its extreme usefulness for various purposes such as military, disaster management or surveillance. On the flip side, the same ease can effortlessly be misused especially to threaten the national security, which makes it crucial to monitor and regulate the usage of UAVs, particularly in civil or private space.
UAVs have traditionally been used by Indian defence forces since 1999 and some were imported in the guise of toys for civil usage. However, in 2014, just as the UAV sector had started getting commercial traction, a major e-commerce company announced to use UAVs to deliver their products within the city limits of Mumbai and Bengaluru. In another incident, a pizza was delivered in Mumbai using a drone. The two incidents alarmed the authorities and as a knee-jerk reaction a blanket ban was imposed on the civil usage of UAVs in the interest of national security and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade banned its import. Flying drones for commercial purposes became legal in India from December 2018 when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released the Civil Aviation Requirements, Section 3 – Air Transport Series X, Part I, Issue I - guidelines for the operation of UAVs.
The revised stance on UAVs is aimed at creating jobs in sectors such as disaster management, media, forestry, infrastructure, construction, transport, land surveillance, precision agriculture, 3D digital mapping, and tracking environmental issues such as erosion and deforestation. Using UAVs in mines for compliance reporting and monitoring volumetric production and to ensure all equipment and manpower is deployed safely; and in oil refineries for creating a positioning system that works like an internal GPS allowing drones to monitor structures such as a boiler inside a plant, autonomously—are good instances of using technology for enhancing efficacy and dexterity. UAVs aid in increasing the work efficiency, hence, a great emphasis is also laid on promoting innovation in drone technology. For this, under the “beyond visual line of sight” policy, DGCA has selected certain companies to run pilot projects to enable BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring Committee decide the policies for the next phase of developments.
15/09/20 Neeraj Dubey/Entrepreneur India
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