07 May, 2020
6 Min Read
The guidelines (Drone Regulations 1.0) issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the commercial use of drones or remotely operated aircraft came into force on December 1, 2018.
Drone Regulation 1.0
Under this regulation, the Digital Sky Platform will enable online registration of pilots, devices, service providers, and NPNT (no permission, no take-off). The Digital Sky Platform is a unique unmanned traffic management (UTM) system which is expected to facilitate the registration and licensing of drones and operators in addition to giving instant (online) clearances to operators for every flight.
The airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission). The restricted locations are airports, near the international border, near the coast line, state secretariat complexes strategic locations, and military installations.
The drone is a layman's terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA). There are three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft- Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft and Model Aircraft. Remotely Piloted Aircraft consists of remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other components, as specified in the type design.
All civilian drone operations will be restricted to only during daytime and at a maximum of 400 feet altitude.
Drone Regulations 2.0
Meanwhile, the government is already working on drone regulations 2.0, focussing on three thresholds:
The current policy allows one drone pilot for each drone whereas, in the next set of regulations, one pilot can operate any number of drones. Under drone regulations 2.0, the drones will be tracked by computers through artificial intelligence. However, the delivery of products by e-commerce players like Amazon and flying taxis like Uber Elevate are likely to be part of drone regulations 3.0.
Drones have immense potential apart from the few mentioned above. This new policy initiative will open up many new and exciting applications that can propel India's economy forward. It can provide a strong impetus to all players in the drone ecosystem and place India among the global leaders.
Although drone-enabled deliveries, air taxis, and many other innovations will not be widely available for years, when available they could be as disruptive as the advent of automobiles. That gives all industry stakeholders impetus to identify roadblocks and realistically consider potential applications now.
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