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India tops the list of Drone/UAV importers

Drones to create huge possibilities


Drones to create huge possibilities




Market reports have already put India at the top of the list of drone-importing countries, accounting for 22.5% of the world’s UAV imports.

A global competition for assessing Drone/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capabilities at the Aero India 2019, being held February, underlines India’s serious intention to adopt the flying technology.

India is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets for drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) because of their ability to transform all key sectors, according to the global market intelligence and advisory firm, BIS Research.

The Indian UAV market is expected to reach US$885.7 million (nearly 4% of the global market at US$21.47 billion) during 2017-23 at a CAGR of 18%, as per research paper compiled and commented on by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Engineering Council of India.

It is predicted that this growth will be coupled with new employment opportunities – particularly in manufacturing, operating and supporting drones. The growth in drone related jobs will cut across sectors and industries, said the report released in November 2018.

Keeping in mind the huge possibilities that drones are expected to create, the PWC-ECI paper aims to explore their impact on the construction sector, which employs India’s second-largest workforce after agriculture and is a powerful contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Drones, as we know and understand them, are set to unleash endless opportunities by enabling this sector to meet the growing demand. Today, this sector is uniquely positioned and is at the heart of all other sectors.

Drones have tremendous utility in construction-related activity.

Right from collecting survey data and real-time monitoring of sites to keeping a close eye on logistics and asset management, drones have the power to revamp each stage and bring about transformational changes in the construction ecosystem, noted the PWC-ECI paper.

The use of drones is expected to maximise productivity, and to keep up with the burgeoning demand, it is critical that drones and UAVs are put to work widely. Their use will not only improve efficiency, but also quality.

Consequently, the discernible benefits of using drones have begun to attract several construction players. Therefore, their efficiency and speed should ultimately translate to cost reduction. Furthermore, as consumption of drones grows in the sector, the demand for qualified and trained professionals who can handle these will increase.

Indian drone industry

India is a developing economy and requires harmony between its economic, social and environmental needs in order to achieve sustainable development.

A key enabler for building a sustainable economy is through technological intervention in market development.

Currently, India is transitioning into a tech-enabled economy. And while it has emerged as one of the top importers of UAVs for military services, there is a consistent demand for commercial activities including construction, agriculture, mining, surveillance, infrastructure management and monitoring, amongst others.

The country’s major imports in drones currently include products required for military purposes. Commercial drones are expected to display a steady climb as well.

However, according to BIS research, the commercial drone market is projected to supersede the military market by 2021.

The Government released a draft version of its drone-related policy in August 2018.

The policy will open up use of drones for commercial activities in the country.

Policy and regulations

On 27 August 2018, India achieved a major milestone in the techno-legal sphere by releasing ‘Requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft’, also known as India’s Drone Policy 1.0.

The policy, which came into effect on 1 December 2018, lifts the blanket ban on UAV-related activity and authorises the use of drones for commercial purposes. With this policy, drones will be widely used in the country.

The Digital Sky platform, due to go live in December 2018, will form the foundation of India’s drone policy.

It is a national Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform, designed to automate the entire chain of approvals required to own and operate a drone.

The platform facilitates registration, operation and management of drones through a single-window mechanism, while eliminating any paperwork.

Digital Sky comprises the following three key categories of activities:

1. Pre-flight: Related to permits (for organisations and manufacturers), issuance of licenses (for pilots), registration (of drones), categorisation of Airspace on Digital Maps (no-fly, free, semi restricted zones, etc.)
2. Take off: Related to flight permits; includes considerations relating to availability, digital approval certificates (to be uploaded into drones for take-off, geo-fencing, etc.)
3. Post-flight: Actual flight path data analysis, data analytics on potential threats or safety issues, non-compliance checks, enforcements, AI-based data authenticity validation, etc.

Source: PWC-ECI. -/

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