Indian Government announces Drone policy 2.0

Feb 2019 | No Comment

The draft note talks about rules and regulations that will bind operations of drones in public spaces, especially on a commercial scale

The Union civil aviation ministry of India has made public the draft note for Drone policy 2.0 on 15th January, 2019, focusing majorly on Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.

The draft note talks about rules and regulations that will bind operations of drones in public spaces, especially on a commercial scale. It further noted that rules governing operations of drones will either be “introduced as an amendment to the existing civil aviation regulations (CAR) 1.0 or it may also be introduced as a separate set of Civil Aviation Requirements notwithstanding the conditions laid down under CAR 1.0”.

“India is set to become a global leader as far as the drone ecosystem is concerned. It’s important for us to have a policy road map and regulations that support the growth of the drone ecosystem,” said Jayant Sinha, MoS for Civil Aviation.

Some specific features of the new drone policy are:

New forms of air freight permitted: The draft Drone Policy 2.0 recommends expanding operations to beyond Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) and beyond the current limit of 400 feet. This creates an enabling framework for sellers to deliver orders using drones including food delivery. Under the current Drone Policy 1.0, RPA operations are restricted to within VLOS and to a limit of 400 feet above ground level (AGL), and the delivery of food through drones is not permitted (Q.32 in the RPAs FAQs). The draft policy is geared at exploiting the commercial potential of drones especially with respect to transport of temperature sensitive commodities like bodily organs, emergency/just-in-time deliveries of life-saving drugs or safe blood for transfusions and collection of patient specimens for delivery for time-sensitive testing in laboratories.

Mandates privacy by design: The draft Drone Policy 2.0 mandates a ‘privacy by design’ standard. Drone Policy 1.0 does not stipulate privacy standards to be adhered to by RPA operators though they are under an obligation to not compromise the privacy of any “entity”.

Proposes development of Infrastructure (Drone corridors, Droneports and UAS Traffic Management (UTM)): The draft Drone Policy 2.0 conceives of drone corridors (segregated airspace demarcated by appropriate authorities) to keep commercial UAS operations out of nonsegregated airspace in which manned aircraft operate. It is also proposed that UTM should be established which would be responsible for managing UAS induced traffic, especially in drone corridors. Further, there should be designated areas known as ‘droneports’ to facilitate the landing and take-off of drones.

Proposes maximum life cycle for drones to ensure airworthiness: The draft Drone Policy 2.0 proposes prescribing a maximum life cycle for each drone type and operators must apply for recertification at the end of a drone’s life cycle. This is over and above the requirements of equipment and maintenance under Drone Policy 1.0.

Recommends establishing a Drone Directorate: The draft Drone Policy 2.0 recommends establishing a Drone Directorate within the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the needs of the nascent drone industry may differ from those of the mature civil aviation industry.

Recognises DigitalSky Service Providers (DSPs): The draft policy introduces new players in the DigitalSky ecosystem called DSPs, which would be public or private agencies registered in India, to provide enabling services to the UAS operators, DigitalSky Platform, relevant law enforcement authorities and/or any other stakeholder. One of the roles envisaged for DSPs is providing UTM services.

Permits 100% FDI: The draft policy proposes 100% FDI under automatic route in UAS and RPAS-based commercial civil aviation services. Under Drone Policy 1.0, there is no mention of FDI.www.medianama.com

Indian Government asks drone makers to install safety chip to avoid accidents

The Union civil aviation ministry of India has asked drone companies to install safety chip which can switch off the drone remotely in order to avoid mishaps. The government order comes in the wake of several drone incidents in the world.

Jayant Sinha, the Union minister of state for civil aviation, directed drone makers to install a chip that can enable the devices to self-destroy in case the drones go rogue.

At present, India is estimated to have around 40,000 drones and the number could touch 1 million in five years. According to a study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global drone market is expected to grow to $127 billion by 2020. https:// economictimes.indiatimes.com

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