Drone registration process opens today: Here’s everything you need to know

Users have to complete the registration process and secure a unique identification number (UIN), and can operate the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) from January 1.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2018 09:52 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Drone registration,Drones in India,How to register a drone in India
A drone pilot operates his drone during a practice session for the Night Drone Competition at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2018, in Bengaluru, Nov. 29, 2018. (PTI)

The government opens the registration process for drones on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know about what’s allowed and what’s not:

Do all drones have to be registered?

No. Nano drones, which weigh less than 250 grams, will not need to go through the registration process and their owners can start flying them on Saturday itself. Such operators have been advised to inform the local police beforehand and to not breach the privacy of any individual.

What about the others?

They will need registration. Users have to complete the registration process and secure a unique identification number (UIN), and can operate the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) from January 1.

“It will be a historic day as we will start registration for drones. We will give 30 days’ time to register and from January 1 we expect the operation of drone to start,” minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said.

Read: Drones to soon transport organs, supplies between hospitals, says minister Jayant Sinha

What happens then? Can people just fly the drones when and where they want to?

That would be chaotic and possibly result in accidents.

According to the civil aviation ministry, the Digital Sky Platform will be a first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) portal to implement a ‘no permission, no take-off’ policy.

“Users will be required to do a one-time registration of drones, pilots and owners. For every flight (except by nano drones), users will be required to ask for permission to fly through a mobile app, and an automated process will permit or deny the request instantly.

The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defence and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

And what about flying drones in controlled spaces?

For flying drones in a controlled airspace, the filing of a flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number will be necessary. The regulation defines “no-drone zones” as areas around airports, near the international border, Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, state secretariat complexes in state capitals, and strategic locations and vital military installations. A case under the Indian Penal Code can be filed for flying a drone in a prohibited zone.

What next?

As a next step the government is considering the creation of drone ports and air corridors for such applications as transport of human organs for transplant.

Then comes Drone 2.0

What is Drone 2.0?

This has nothing to do with the movie 2.0 but is the second part of the drone policy, a white paper on which will be released by Sinha on Saturday. This will allow the commercial use of drones as taxis and delivery vehicles, and permit their operation beyond the visual line of sight. The policy is likely to take effect by March 2019 and open up a raft of business opportunities.

The policy itself, Drone 2.0, will be released at a global aviation summit on January 15, 2019, and be open for public feedback for 30 days.

“Drone 2.0 regulations will crack the code and enable us to cross three important thresholds all at once. One, beyond visual line of sight; two, payloads; three, automation...,” Sinha has told Hindustan Times in an interview earlier this month.

The regulations will enable the use of drones as taxis and delivery vehicles by companies such as e-commerce operators.

“And it will make India a world leader in drone regulations...because of [India’s] large sized markets, we will become leader in the drone ecosystem as well because it includes manufacturing; it includes software development and applications as well. That’s very much our focus for our efforts as far as the drone ecosystem is concerned,” Sinha added.

First Published: Dec 01, 2018 09:30 IST