In the last few years, unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones have caught the world by storm, thanks to the assortment of roles they can take up. From amateur photography to aerial surveys, drones can be purposed to do a lot. No wonder the central and state governments in India are adopting drones to provide wide-ranging administrative solutions.
Use of drones in India
Today, not only are drones commercially available, their use in India has been deregulated to a great extent on the back of the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021. This has translated into drones being viewed as having potential for medical purposes, logistics, as ‘taxis’, among their other conventional roles. More importantly, the enthusiastic embrace of drone use by government agencies is an exciting development in the field.
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Karnataka: use of drones for medical deliveries
Throttle Aerospace Systems consortium has received clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for nighttime trials. The clearance follows 100 hours of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) medical drone delivery service carried out by the drone called MedCOPTER, where the copters delivered over 450 packages, flying for a distance of over 2,100 km.
Following the first round of success, the consortium is all set to experiment night-time services which will bring it a step closer to gain a commercial license. This is bound to improve readiness healthcare emergency and e-commerce sectors.
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Kerala: mapping of villages; forensic examination of data
Under the Swamitva scheme launched by the Central Government, drones are to be employed to survey and map villages to deliver an integrated property validation solution in rural areas. The drone survey has been completed in over 54,000 villages across the country while property cards have been issued in over 7,300 villages. In Kerala, this geotagging of the spatial record of the properties has been mobilized. The accurate survey of the properties will enable their owners to have a ‘record of rights’ that would serve as financial assets.
Meanwhile, wary of threats from misuse of drones, the Kerala government has opened a ‘Drone Forensic Laboratory’ to help law enforcement agencies capture and analyze data from seized or recovered drones. It had recently analyzed a drone brought down by the Border Security Force (BSF) near the international border in Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir and helped the local enforcement zero in on its illegal operators.
Drones have also been used in Tamil Nadu for better irrigation management and the spraying of pesticides. In the fight against the Covid pandemic, they have been employed to disinfect large urban swathes, reducing the risk of exposure to sanitation workers. They also continue to be used in traditional sectors, such as search and rescue missions, in various parts of the country, besides finding newer uses.