Business Today - - THE BUZZ - – Manu Kaushik

IN DE­CEM­BER this year, drones will be­gin fly­ing across In­dian skies for sur­veys, pho­tog­ra­phy, and map­ping. The gov­ern­ment has an­nounced its first ever pol­icy cov­er­ing un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles.

Ini­tially there’ll be no food or ecom­merce de­liv­er­ies al­lowed. The first phase in De­cem­ber will only al­low drones flown within the op­er­a­tor’s vis­ual line of sight, in the day­time and up to 400 feet al­ti­tude. De­tailed guide­lines have been is­sued about who can seek the manda­tory li­cences and how. Au­ton­o­mous drones and/ or be­yond vis­ual line of sight will be dealt with in the sec­ond phase.

The In­dian ap­proach to the drone pol­icy is sim­i­lar to other ma­jor drone mar­kets such as China or the US. The drone ecosys­tem is con­stantly evolv­ing, and dig­i­tal ma­jors such as Ama­zon and Google are gear­ing up to use fly­ing ro­bots, glob­ally.

From a blan­ket ban in 2014, the In­dian gov­ern­ment has fi­nally joined the band­wagon to re­alise the po­ten­tial of drones.

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