It is unusual to see the words ‘drones’ and ‘urban planning’ in the same sentence. However, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones for the first time to plan the city’s upcoming Metro rail corridors.
The drones will be used to survey and map out the alignment of the corridors.The agency believes this will help it acquire accurate details of the current situation and will save time.
MMRDA — the implementing agency for the Metro projects in Mumbai — has floated bids to appoint an agency to carry out a detailed survey of the 32-km Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavli corridor (Metro 4) and the 23.5-km DN Nagar-Bandra-Mankhurd corridor (Metro 2B) with the help of these drones.
“The drones will help us prepare an accurate map of the area, its topography and the type and number of trees, which will help us implement the project,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director and spokesperson, MMRDA.
According to the MMRDA’s tender notice, the drones will be used for carrying out detailed surveys, demarcating, measuring and geo-referencing the area, taking aerial photographs and videos and preparing maps of the area. Kawathkar added that the survey will help the agency prepare 3D models of the area and the proposed stations.
It will also help to identify issues that could arise during the implementation stage. “It will give us accurate details of the current situation of the roads from where the alignment is planned. It will help us save a lot of time,” he added.
A senior MMRDA official said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Mumbai in December. He added that the state government intends to lay the foundation stone for these projects during his visit.The two corridors were recently approved by the state cabinet and the MMRDA is likely to float bids for implementing the projects in a couple of months.
In September — as part of a pilot project for drone-policing — the state government had deployed drones on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to monitor traffic and record incidents of rash driving, lane cutting and general rule-breaking.