3 places in Karnataka likely to be okayed for drone testing

3 places in Karnataka likely to be okayed for drone testing

Three places in Karnataka are likely to be among 23 sites identified by the civil aviation regulator for testing the efficacy of unmanned aerial systems or drones in the country.

The locations have been 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 (drones), having obtained (an) industrial licence from DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), shall use the test sites for testing/demonstration purpose," the draft said.

In Karnataka, Challakere (Chitradurga district), Ganimangala (Chamarajanagar) and Choudigudi Estate (Kodagu district) have been identified for testing drones. There are seven more locations in South India where one can do the testing. These include four 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 Aurangabad, Amravati, Ahmednagar, Satara and Shirpur airport (all in Maharashtra) and Surendranagar in Gujarat.

The draft also said that people and companies would have to take special clearance for delivering goods using drones.

Drones "should not discharge or drop substances unless especially cleared and mentioned in the UAOP (Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit)". The draft also disallows drones from being used for transporting hazardous materials such as explosives or animal or human payload.

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

Model aircraft of up to 2 kg without any payload and flown below 200 feet inside educational institution premises will not require the unique identity or the 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," the draft said.

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

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