India Notifies Framework For Traffic Management of Drones In Lower Airspace
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India Notifies Framework For Traffic Management of Drones In Lower Airspace

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The Centre on Tuesday notified a traffic management policy framework for drones that will manage their movement in the airspace under 1,000 feet. It will allow both public and private third-party service providers to manage the unmanned aerial vehicles in lower airspace.

The policy framework issued by the civil aviation ministry noted that with rapid technological evolution of unmanned aircraft, opening up of new use cases and policy reforms, the number of such aircraft operating in the Indian airspace is poised to increase rapidly.

It has also taken into consideration the scenarios which will require flying multiple drones near manned aircraft, especially on lower levels of the airspace where drones are allowed to fly.

Current air traffic management (ATM) systems have not been designed to handle the traffic from unmanned aircraft, the National Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management policy framework issued on October 24 stated.

“Integration of unmanned aircraft in the Indian airspace using conventional means may require unmanned aircraft to be equipped with bulky and expensive hardware, which is neither feasible nor advisable,” it noted.

This requires the creation of a separate, modern, primarily software-based, automated traffic management system, it said, adding that such systems may subsequently be integrated into traditional ATM systems.

The framework allows third-party service providers to give services such as registration, flight planning, dynamic deconfliction and access to supplementary data like weather, terrain and position of manned aircraft.

All drones (except Nano drones operating in the green zone) shall be required to mandatorily share their real-time location through the network to the Centre either directly or through third-party service providers, it mentioned.

The Centre had on September 15 approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of ₹120 crore spread over three financial years.

The civil aviation ministry had on August 25 notified the Drone Rules, 2021 that eased the regulation of drone operations in India by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to five and decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to four.

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