Food delivery via drones a distant dream as govt issues new UAS rules

Food delivery via drones a distant dream as govt issues new UAS rules
Photo Credit: Pixabay
8 Jun, 2020

A day after the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) granted permission to 13 consortia including Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo to test-fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones, the ministry of civil aviation has issued draft unmanned aircraft system (UAS) rules 2020 to regulate the space.

The draft issued on June 4 clearly prohibits the carriage of payload and dropping of articles by unmanned aircraft. Last year Zomato had announced that it had successfully tested a drone for air delivery and wanted to test the BVLOS drone as part of the current permission granted by DGCA. 

The draft rules classify drones into nano, micro, small, medium and large depending on weight including payload. The draft rules also mandate certification of UAS importers and manufacturers in India. Further, traders and individuals will have to apply for authorisation in order to buy or lease a UAS.

The guidelines also include:

  • Certified manufacturers of drones should be compliant with the NPNT -- no permission, no takeoff policy, which requires a software which allows flight only after digital permission is granted
  • No drones can be owned or operated without a DGCA issued Unique Identification Number (UIN) 
  • Only drones that are covered by a third party insurance policy will be allowed to operate
  • Only licensed remote pilots will be allowed to fly drones except for the nano and micro categories, which are less than 2 kilograms in weight
  • Licensed drone ports and drone corridors can be established in permitted areas
  • Maintenance manual has to be provided with every drone by the manufacturer or importer

The ministry has sought submissions from stakeholders within a month’s time.

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