India has put in a formal traffic management system for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) as the number of drones being used in the country for different purposes is on the rise, according to an official statement on Tuesday. As per the new order, it has been made mandatory to safely manage the interplay between manned and unmanned aircraft, especially at low-level airspace where the drones are usually found, for which the Union Aviation Ministry has now notified the “national UAS traffic management policy framework.” The new order comes after the Central Government liberalised the drone regulations policy and managed a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for drone and drone components.
The new innovative initiatives by the government have given the push required to take the drone industry to the next level. The Indian drone industry is now expected to make strides across sectors like agriculture, mining, infrastructure, geospatial mapping, transportation, emergency response, defence and law enforcement. Smit Shah, the Director of Drone Federation of India, recently said, “India is ready to witness a scenario where drones will be as prominent as birds in the sky with the adoption of drones picking up at a fast pace. Traditional traffic management services provided by ATCs for manned aircraft cannot be scaled for managing drone traffic which is expected to become at least 100 times higher since the traditional air traffic management is manual and requires human intervention.” Shah further added, “this policy framework shall allow third-party service providers to deploy highly automated, algorithm-driven software services for managing drone traffic across the country.” Shah continued, “The vision to conduct an outcome-based, time-bound UTM experiment as the key next step of the policy framework shall allow India to engage in a public-private partnership for developing safety and separation standards for drones and allow drone operations to scale up quickly in the country.”
PM Modi lauds India’s new drone policy
PM Modi said after the liberalisation of drones that this is a landmark moment in the country. He tweeted: “The new Drone Rules usher in a landmark moment for this sector in India. The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification. Approvals, compliance requirements, and entry barriers have been significantly reduced.” Furthermore, he said, “The new Drone Rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will open up new possibilities for innovation & business. It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub.”