Its been since 2015 that it has been speculating that drones can commercially be used. From e-commerce deliveries to delivering pizza, last couple of years saw many plans from startups to giants like Flipkart planning drone deliveries in the past however as India’s aviation regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which till now has restricted the use of drones in India for commercial purpose, the plans made never manifested into reality.
But now, all these will now certainly be possible as Indian government on Monday announced the Drone Policy allowing the commercial use of Drones starting December 1 this year.
According to government officials, the users of drones will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of these drones as well as their owners. After the registration, users will have to request for permission to fly it on a mobile application. An automated process will either permit or deny the request instantly.
Last November, the then Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju first announced about the policy on use of drones, including for commercial purposes.
Drones have been classified into five categories based on maximum take-off weight — nano (up to 250g), micro (251g to two kg), mini (2kg to 25kg), small (25kg to 150kg) and large (over 150kg).
For the lightest category Nano, a payload of up to 250 grams and flight to a maximum height of 50 feet, have been approved. A user need not seek prior approval for operating a nano drone.
In case, if the permission is denied, any drone without the digital permit will be unable to take off. If the permission is given, the drones will be allowed to fly during daytime-only. The maximum altitude allowed for drones to fly will be 400-ft.
While announcing the new policy, Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said, “Today we start an exciting new chapter in India’s aviation history by allowing commercial use of drones. I am sure that many new and exciting applications will emerge that will propel India’s economy forward. Our progressive regulations will encourage a vast Made in India drone industry.”
Civil aviation minister, Minister of State (MoS), Jayant Sinha said, “There are opportunities for our aviation sector and for India’s startup industry as India is set to become a global leader as far as drone ecosystem is concerned. It’s important for us to have a policy roadmap and regulations that support growth of the drone ecosystem.”
The new policy has been named as Drone Regulations 1.0 and it provides guidelines and has provision for stricter penalties.
Officials said that the ministry is further working on Drone Regulations 2.0 which will examine the issues like certification of safe and controlled operation of drone hardware and software and Airspace management through automated operations linked into overall airspace management framework.
As per the guidelines, Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of the flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) and Flight Information Centre (FIC) number will be necessary.
As per the regulation, “No Drone Zones” will be around airports; near the international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations and vital and military installations.
Drones are a technology platform which has wide-ranging applications from photography to agriculture, from infrastructure asset maintenance to insurance. Drones range in size from very small and those that can carry multiple kilograms of payload.
- Drones could only fly during the day-time
- The upper height ceiling of flying drones is 400 feet.
- Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission).
- For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) and Flight Information Centre (FIC) number will be necessary.
- “No Drone Zones” will be around airports; near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations and vital and military installations.
In the first commercial use of drones, e-commerce giant Amazon has used a drone to deliver a bag of popcorn to an address in rural England.
In October last year, Amazon had already filed patent for delivery drones in India.
In the same month, China’s e-commerce giant JD.com, also called Jingdong, unveiled its super-sized delivery drones at the service of its customers. Considered China’s largest online retailer, JD.com has a national distribution network that matches the coverage of global e-commerce giant Amazon.
News sourced via – New India Express.