Drones have been a controversial topic almost since their inception.
The conversations around drones tend to use them at the last big wedding or extend to military use In unmanned aerial warfare.
However, there are a host of extremely functional and useful ways in which drones can change the way we live for the better.
Drones have proven to be groundbreaking in the healthcare space – Vanuatu island residents have very few airfields, paved roads, or cooling available. Here, The availability of vaccines has been transformed by the delivery of drones.. Applications extend to the delivery of life-saving drugs, blood packages and organs for transplantation.
In India, another particularly useful example is in agriculture. Early assessment of crop health, best irrigation practices, and even soil and field analysis can only improve agricultural practices across the board. With a number of state governments already using drones To assess and quantify crops and farmland to try to predict water use and accelerate relief, it is clear that drone applications have a better chance to deliver than popular hysteria suggests.
However, all these virtues fall by the wayside when incidents like Gatwick or HAL airports occur. In both cases, unauthorized drones floating close to the runway led to security problems and disrupted operations. In Gatwick’s case, the airport closed for 36 hours and hundreds of flights were canceled, delaying and dropping off thousands of passengers shortly before the start of the holiday season.
Examples like these are quickly used to justify banning drones for security reasons. Reasoning along these lines guided the regulatory regime around the drone industry in India, making it prohibitively difficult for the industry to grow or operate in the past two years.
But if we were to take a step back and assess: the problem in both of these incidents was not the drone itself, it was the unauthorized operation of drone flights and their use in restricted areas.
For some time now, the perception has been that drones and their abuse were inherently linked and creating a distinction between the two seemed impossible. Fortunately, this is what the new drone regime in India is trying to address.
The recently launched Digital Sky platform has created a technology platform to enable and regulate drone flights and controlled airspaces. The innovative NPNT (Permit No Takeoff) system is the key component of this platform. It requires the drone operator to apply for permission to fly their drones on an online platform. This permit would require details of the flight time, the specifications of the drones and the area in which you seek to fly. The system immediately generates the permission artifact if all the searched details are accepted.
With this artifact loaded into the drone, the drone will be able to fly only if the actual flight parameters match the details of the requested permit. In short, this system ensures that drones cannot take off at a time and in a place where the authorities do not want them to, regardless of the intervention or intention of the pilot. NPNT is designed to ensure protection and security at a very fundamental level so that incidents like HAL and Gatwick can be prevented even before they occur.
Obviously, applying this requires a lot of coordination between hardware manufacturers and system vendors, not to mention certification agencies and pilot training schools. Indigenous manufacturers and operators, for their part, have taken on the mandate to adopt NPNT and, more importantly, Digital Sky.
Neel from Asteria Aerospace says: “The concept of the Digital Sky platform is one step ahead of regulations in most countries. It will allow law enforcement officials to easily monitor and identify registered drones flying in a local area through an app on your smartphone. However, the government must be strict in its enforcement to ensure that the drone industry does not suffer at the hands of a few people who purchase non-conforming aircraft and fly recklessly. “
Digital Sky will also have to be an ever-evolving platform that must not only cope with the developments of drone applications, but must also enable them.
“Future versions of Digital Sky will allow on-demand flight path generation in a complex environment with the click of a button. Imagine a drone delivering emergency shots or picking someone up from a station to save someone’s life or precious time in the future, “says Vipul Singh, CEO of AUS.
“The drone ecosystem is a relatively nascent industry and it is also the fastest growing ecosystem in India Stack,” said Mrinal Pai of Skylark Drones.
Born from the joint efforts of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and in consultation with entities such as iSPIRT, the Digital Sky platform aims to promote private innovations that can create a public good.
This new regime is an end-to-end ecosystem built around the simple but effective idea that a technology-enabled solution can minimize paperwork, grant permits, and reduce in-flight friction, while strengthening compliance and increasing compliance. security. A regime and platform that demonstrates that The challenges are, in fact, catalysts for innovation.
Saranya Gopinath is the co-founder of DICE (Digital India Collective for Empowerment).