Tuesday, May 11, 2021

20 Startups receive approval from MoCA to experiment long range drone flights

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed 20 entities to conduct Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) experimental flights of drones. Some prominent names include Swiggy, Spice Jet and Dunzo. The MoCA stated that they granted the preliminary permission to assist the supplementary framework development of subsequent UAV rules pertaining to BVLOS drone operations.

The aggreagetd meaning of BVLOS or BLOS refers to flying a drone without  a pilot maintaining visual line of sight on the aircraft at all times. Instead, the pilot operates the drone using Remote Pilot Station or a Ground Control Station instrument. That is, a pilot does not provide protection to the drone in terms of natural causes viz., terrain, obstacles etc.

A BVLOS operations requires careful planning by operators , major training requirements and several government approvals. Obtaining an approval to fly BVLOS, while hugely valuable, is a challenging task. “These BVLOS trials will help create a framework for future drone deliveries and other major applications using drones,” MoCA said.

Last month, the Government of Telangana recieved conditional exemption for conducting experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones. To accelerate the drone deployment process to formulate application-based models, the grant has been extended to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). The trials may commence by end of May 2021 after it submits an SOP.

11/05/21 Laxitha Mundhra/CiOL

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