Government notifies framework for management of drone traffic in lower airspace
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified a traffic management framework for drones under which public and private third-party service providers will manage their movements in airspace below 1,000 feet.
Current air traffic management (ATM) systems were not designed to handle unmanned aircraft traffic, according to the framework released on October 24.
“The integration of unmanned aircraft into Indian airspace using conventional means may require unmanned aircraft to be fitted with cumbersome and expensive equipment, which is neither feasible nor advisable”, he noted.
This requires the creation of a separate, modern, mostly software-based UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) traffic management system (UTM), he said, adding that these systems could subsequently be used. integrated into traditional ATM systems.
The integration of UTM and ATM will be important to permanently separate manned and unmanned aircraft from each other in the airspace.
The framework enables third-party service providers to provide services such as registration, flight planning, dynamic conflict resolution, and access to additional data such as weather, terrain, and position of manned aircraft.
In addition, a set of additional service providers will also be licensed under the framework to provide services such as insurance and data analytics to support the UTM ecosystem.
The DigitalSky platform will continue to be the interface for government stakeholders to provide approvals and clearances to drone operators whenever needed, in accordance with the framework.
All drones (with the exception of Nano drones operating in the green zone) will have to share their location in real time via the network with the Center, either directly or through third-party service providers. he indicates.
He said third-party service providers will first be deployed in small geographies that could be gradually expanded.
Additionally, these service providers will be allowed to charge drone operators a service fee and a small portion of this may need to be shared with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages ATM.
Smit Shah, director of the industry body DroneFederation of India, said in a statement: “The traditional traffic management services provided by ATCs (air traffic controllers) for manned aircraft cannot be adapted to the management of traffic. drone traffic, which is expected to become at least 100 times higher from traditional ATMs, is manual and requires human intervention. “
This policy framework will allow third-party service providers to deploy highly automated and algorithm-based software services to manage drone traffic across the country, he added.
The Union government approved on September 15 a production-related incentive program (PLI) for drones and drone components with an allocation of Rs 120 crore spread over three years.
On August 25, the ministry notified Drone Rules 2021 which relaxed the regulation of drone operations in India by reducing the number of forms to be completed to operate them from 25 to five and decreasing the types of fees charged by the operator. from 72 to four.
The framework was released under the Drone Rules, 2021, only.
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