Drone testing facilities in three locations in Karnataka

Drone testing facilities in three locations in Karnataka

Drone testing facilities in three locations in Karnataka

The aeronautical test range in Chitradurga, Ganimangala village and Coorg's Choudigudi Estate in Karnataka are likely to form part of 23 sites identified by the civil aviation regulator for testing efficacy of Unmanned Aerial Systems or drones in the country.

The locations were identified in a draft Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) publicised by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

"To encourage new technology, Indian organisations involved in research and development related activity of RPAS, having obtained industrial license from DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), shall use the test sites for testing/demonstration purpose," the draft said.

Besides the three sites in Karnataka, there are eight more locations in south India where one can do the testing. There are four such locations in Tamil Nadu (Vellore, Salem, Erode and Coimbatore), two in Kerala (Munnar and Idukki) and one in Telangana (Mulugu village in Hyderabad).

Other sites include Surendranagar in Gujarat as well as Aurangabad, Amravati, Ahmednagar, Satara and Shirpur airport.

The draft also said that people and companies will have to take special clearance for delivering goods using drones, according to new draft.

Drones should not "discharge or drop substances unless specially cleared and mentioned in UAOP (Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit)". It also disallows drones being used for transporting any any hazardous material such as explosives or animal or human payload.

The newly publicised draft also puts the onus on operators of drones in ensuring privacy of individuals while giving Indian Air Force (IAF) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) powers to monitor drone movements in entire country. The drone pilot will also be "liable to ensure that privacy norms of individuals are not compromised in any manner".

Model aircraft up to 2kg without any payload and flown below 200 feet inside educational institution premises will not require unique identity number or UAOP. "Aeromodellers/recreational flyers under this category shall be fully responsible for its operation, safety and security. They shall inform the local police authorities before undertaking such activities even for indoor operation," it said.

"UAS operations present problems to the regulator in terms of ensuring safety of other users of airspace and persons on the ground. However, in view of technological advancements in UAS over the years and their increased civil applications, it has become necessary to develop regulations for operations of this activity," the DGCA said explaining the reason for bringing out the regulation.