Barely a month after rolling out registrations of drones in December, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has made public the draft note for Drone policy 2.0 in India, 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 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 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.
The document, which has been made public to invite comments from various quarters, said that India needs to focus on developing an "enabling environment" to promote "commercial use of unmanned aerial services (UAS)".
"Successful implementation of CAR 2.0 for commercial usage of UAS, for operations beyond visual line of sight and for operation of autonomous UAS, is a factor of several combinations including safe and secure airspace for UAS, advance infrastructure to manage the UAS traffic, decentralisation of DigitalSky Platform and allow access to DigitalSky Service Providers ("DSP") for effective management, flexibility to adopt ever-changing technology, formulating an ethical framework for autonomous UAVs and innovation of new concepts to suit the varied topographic and demographic profile of India," the draft read.
India is expected to become a $886 million worth drone market by 2021 even as the global market would stand at $ 21.47 billion.
This requires India to focus on safety and security of drone application, promoting innovations and entrepreneurship coupled with tapping on various business opportunities.
The draft note has suggested developing designated 'drone corridors' for uninterrupted movement of drones, developing airworthiness standards independent of operational and environmental risks, limiting life-cycle of drones, obtaining "Proof of Concept" certificate to operate drones during night and obtaining professional certificates for operating independent drones.
"A UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system should be devised to provide hyper-local and real-time information for managing UAS induced traffic, especially in the Drone Corridors," the document read.
From cargo to humans
Interestingly, the Drone 2.0 policy document talks about usage of drones for delivering goods, human organs and blood.
"The UAS operations will create supply chain relay networks for delivery of payload, transport of temperature sensitive commodities like bodily organs, emergency or just-in-time deliveries of life-saving medicines or safe blood for transfusions and collection of patient specimens for delivery to laboratory for time-sensitive testing," the document said.
While Amazon has used drones to deliver a bag of popcorn in rural England, food delivery portal Zomato has tied up with Techeagle, a drone-based delivery platform to deliver goods in future.
The government is planning to allow 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI), through automatic route, in the UAS industry to give the necessary impetus to the nascent industry.
The idea of Drone 2.0 is to go beyond basic divisions of drones and adopt rules for commercial application.