UAV Traffic Management Framework Publication Center

Bangalore: India will embark several public and private service providers to handle drone traffic in airspace below 1,000 feet, as it continues its plans to foster wider adoption of unmanned aircraft in sectors such as health, logistics and agriculture over the next few years.

The recently released National Unmanned Aircraft System (UTM) Traffic Management Policy Framework establishes guidelines for fully automated drone tracking in Indian airspace, as well as integrations between traffic management entities, government, air traffic controllers and law enforcement, among others.

“The number of unmanned aircraft operating in Indian airspace is expected to increase by several times. The interaction between manned and unmanned aircraft must be managed with the utmost attention to global safety standards, ”the policy document states. “Indian UAS traffic management systems will play a key role in this regard. ”

The government will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) with the aim of integrating UTMs, which will also include an assessment process. Selected providers will be assigned regions to configure their UTM services and will only be allowed to expand their coverage area after successful deployments.

“The central government plans to conduct evidence-based policy training to activate UTM systems in India,” the policy says, adding that a tender for performing UTM experiments will be launched, suppliers will need to conduct their experiences within six months after which they will be granted an example of integration with the Digital Sky platform, after which they will have to submit their recommendations to the government.

Unlike air traffic control (ATC) for passengers and other manned aircraft which is largely done manually, traffic management for drones will be primarily software-based to allow safe flights in the vicinity of other drones. as well as manned aircraft. UTMs will become necessary when there are hundreds or even thousands of drones in flight in a particular location at the same time.

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The policy states that the Civil Aviation Authority and Airports Authority of India will continue to maintain regulatory and operational authorities. Other stakeholders will include, among others, the Civil Aviation Safety Board, the Air Defense Authority, and law enforcement and security agencies.

“The traditional traffic management services provided by ATCs for manned aircraft cannot be adapted to the management of drone traffic, which is expected to become at least 100 times higher, because traditional air traffic management is manual and requires human intervention, ”said Smit Shah, director of the Drone Federation. of India (DFI) which is also a member of the UTM National Committee set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“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,” Shah added.

In addition to the UTM providers themselves, the policy also allows additional service providers (SSPs) that may provide additional services for navigation, airspace surveillance, weather tracking, terrain and obstacle tracking, etc. as well as during the flight.

The policy also states that UTM providers will be able to bill drone operators through a subscription model, pay-as-you-go model, or a hybrid of the two. It also establishes a framework for multiple UTMs operating in a single airspace, requiring coordination between two or more service providers, all of this will be done digitally.

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