Digital Sky Platform
Science & Technology
13th Dec, 2018
- Digital Sky Platform, as part of Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR), for registration of drones, pilots, and operators for online permission was recently launched.
- Nano drones in India can start flying legally from now.
- For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.
Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR):
- In August 2018, Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) was announced by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to enable safe flying of RPAS in India.
- The CAR detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/users and manufacturers for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace.
- CAR is for Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones.
- As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
- As of now, RPAS was allowed to operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and upto maximum400 ft. altitude.
Digital Sky Platform:
- The platform has begun accepting registrations of users.
- Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh (bharatkosh.gov.in) portal.
- It is envisioned that in the future Digital Sky Service Providers (DSPs) will be extending the functionality of the platform through Application Program Interfaces (APIs).
Significance for Drone users:
- Existing drone operators and potential drone owners are required to buy No Permission-No-Takeoff (NPNT)-compliant RPAS.
- The import of drones is now permitted as well.
- To get permissions to fly, RPAS operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.
- Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app.
- Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’.
- Permission, if granted, will be available digitally on the portal.
- If an RPAS does not have permission to fly, it will not be allowed to take-off under the policy of (NPNT).
Why framing regulations took so long?
- Drone technologies have been evolving very rapidly.
- Many countries are still experimenting with their drone regulations and no ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) standards have been developed.
- India’s security environment necessitates extra precautions.
Future of drones:
- Drones offer low-cost, safe and quick aerial surveys for data collection.
- This is useful for industries such as power, mining, realty, oil and gas exploration, railways and highways.
- With big data and tools such as 3D modelling, businesses can simulate and analyse varied situations.
- Drones can inspect tall structures and offshore rigs.
- Relief, rescue work and policing can become more effective by using them.
- They can be used for delivery of fertilizers in fields and to ship goods, a use e-commerce firms may be interested in.
- Large-scale use of drones could give rise to concerns relating to privacy and security that policymakers may need to address.
- As the government regulation does not allow drones that require registration to be operated out of sight, their adoption for commercial use may be initially limited.