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Drones will soon be enabled with automatic ‘on/off switches’, says Scindia

Drones will soon be enabled with a system that will provide for automatically switching them off in case they deviate from the designated flight path as the government looks to strengthen the security aspects in relation to drone operations.

Emphasising that internal security is a focus area, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said that in the coming days, drones will be enabled with automatic “on/off” switches.

In case, there is a deviation from the designated flight path, the drone concerned can be stopped with the switch, Scindia said as he listed various measures that are in place to ensure security. Participating in a virtual Q&A live chat session on the drone industry, the minister also said that there will be a registry for drones.

There is already a digital airspace map wherein the areas for drone operations have been demarcated into red, yellow and green zones. To a query, Scindia said that regulations pertaining to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations of drones are expected to be put in place in the next 10-12 months.

“New air corridors for drones will be established and there will be limited corridors for cargo deliveries,” he added. In August, the ministry came out with revamped rules for drone operations and several permissions have been done away with.

Besides, the number of forms required has been reduced to 5 from 25 and the types of fees have been cut to 4 from 74 earlier. The latest drone rules are based on the premises of self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring of the activities.

Last month, an interactive digital airspace map for drone operations that demarcates areas into red, yellow and green zones was released. According to Scindia, currently, around 200 start-ups are working in the drone sector. The government is aiming to make India a drone hub in the coming years.

Joint Secretary at the Civil Aviation Ministry Amber Dubey was also present during the interactive session. Separately, while addressing a session on ‘Drones for Public Good – Mass Awareness Programme’ organised by industry body FICCI, Scindia said technology promotion is crucial and drone technology will bring those living at the margins to the centre of development.

“The Svamitva (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme plans to use drones to map thousands of villages which will give India’s drone industry a massive boost,” he added. The Hindu BusinessLine

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