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Jayant Sinha pitches for ‘digital sky’ for drones

PTI | New Delhi |


Union minister Jayant Sinha said on Wednesday that the government was aiming at implementing the concept of ‘digital sky’ for drones to ensure smooth operations of rising numbers of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Sinha was addressing a consultation process conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for finalising rules for drones.

Earlier this month, the civil aviation ministry unveiled draft norms for operating drones or unmanned aerial system (UAS) for civilian purposes. under the rules, a unique identification number and radio frequency tags would be a mandatory requirement for operating drones.

“Increasingly the way in which people are thinking about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is that you create a digital space where every point in that 3-D digital space is mapped out.

“When someone wants to operate a drone, they will have to file a digital flight plan and through a software monitoring programme and ground radars you ensure that the digital flight plan is faithfully followed,” the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation said.

He said that the sheer volume of drone technology makes digitisation imperative.

Industry representatives present at the event requested for a single-window clearance for drones, revision of height limit for flying a UAS as well a mechanism to punish rogue drones.

There were suggestions made to ensure training of pilots, especially in handling emergencies as well as laying down of criteria to ensure they are medically fit to operate drones.

“While the public consultation process is on, we get lots of comments from different segments of the aviation sector. We will take those into consideration and we will see how best to handle with those concerns,” Sinha told reporters.