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Drone firms form association, demand changes in regulation: report

Some drone companies and startups have come together to form an association called Drone Federation of India to suggest changes to the government’s proposed draft regulations for remotely piloted aircrafts in the country and influence policies and decisions in India, reports The Economic Times.

In November 2017, the Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had released the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for operation of civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), or drones, and one could send comments regarding this to the DGCA within December 1, 2017. (Full lowdown on DGCA’s operational requirements for drones is here).

As per the same Economic Times report, the main concern areas for the association are-processes, and weight restriction and height restriction. The group of drone companies demands to increase weight to at least 4 kgs from 2 kgs currently and height restriction to 400 feet from 200 feet currently.

The association is also looking into easing out the process of registration and permission for flying drones. The association has reportedly asked for faster approvals and allocation of testing sites for drone manufacturing and R&D. The wait currently is month or two to get a permission for a project.

In terms of procedure, the companies have asked for more clarity. The T report quotes a CTO of a company who said that the government has said that drone companies need ATC (Air Traffic Control) approval, but it is unclear for the companies on how to go about the registration of drones since every drone needs to have a Unique Identification Number. The CTO  also added that the government has not mentioned about how to go procure tagging since every drone in operation has to be tagged.

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The Mumbai-based body has been joined by startups like Quidich Innovation Labs, Aarav Unmanned Systems, Asteria Aerospace, and Indrones along with other companies, according to the same ET report. Vignesh Santhanam, who is currently Marketing and Business head at a drone startup Quidich Innovation Labs, has joined the body as its President.

The members of the Federation are a mix of drone companies, experts, owners, etc. In a Facebook post, the body had invited members in categories like drone owner / assembler / manufacturer; hobbyist / UAV enthusiast; business / Individual looking to use drones for their enterprise; private player in the UAV industry providing industrial solutions; and owner of a DJI / small UAV in the filming business.

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