Exoplanets. Hurricane-affected areas Antarctica. The entrance to your home. Although one of these locations is a little less severe than the others, that is the point of drones. Drones, also known as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” (UAVs), are designed to do activities ranging from the ordinary to the extremely dangerous. These robot-like vehicles may be found aiding in the rescue of avalanche victims in the Swiss Alps, delivering groceries to your front door, and virtually everywhere else in between.
Drones, which were originally designed for the military and aerospace sectors, have made their way into the public due to the increased safety and efficiency they provide. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) fly without a pilot and with varying degrees of autonomy. A drone’s autonomy can range from remotely piloted (where a person controls its movements) to sophisticated autonomy, where it calculates its moves using a system of sensors and LIDAR detectors.
Different drones may travel at different heights and lengths. Hobbyists generally employ very close-range drones, which can reach up to three miles. Close-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have a range of around 30 miles. Drones with a short range of up to 90 miles are mostly employed for espionage and information collection. Mid-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have a range of 400 miles and might be utilised for intelligence collection, scientific research, and meteorological research. The longest-range drones are known as “endurance” UAVs, and they can fly up to 3,000 feet in the air and have a range of more than 400 miles.
Drones are ideal candidates for taking on some of the world’s most difficult professions since they can be controlled remotely and flown at varied distances and heights. They may be found aiding in the hunt for survivors after a hurricane, providing law enforcement and military with an eye in the sky during terrorist incidents, and furthering scientific study in some of the world’s most harsh climates. Drones have even found their way into our homes, where they serve as both amusement and a useful tool for photographers.
A policy on drone traffic control
According to the policy, UTM systems will aid in achieving objectives such as identifying stakeholders and allowing them to communicate with one another in a seamless manner, separating unmanned aircraft from other manned and unmanned aircraft, and providing concerned stakeholders with situational awareness of VLL airspace.
India has issued a National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or drone traffic management policy framework, which would allow both private and governmental service providers to monitor drone traffic in the country.
The drone traffic management policy framework considers circumstances in which many drones are flown near manned aircraft, particularly at lower altitudes of the airspace where drones are permitted to operate.
“With rapid technological evolution of unmanned aircraft, opening up of new use cases and policy reforms, the number of unmanned aircraft operating in the Indian airspace is poised to increase rapidly,” said the National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) policy framework.
The policy said that the safety of manned and unmanned aircraft flying in Indian airspace is a crucial criterion that must be met by a mix of standards, procedures, technology, and real-time data interchange.
“Current Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems have not been designed to handle the traffic from unmanned aircraft. Integration of unmanned aircraft in the Indian airspace using conventional means may require unmanned aircraft to be equipped with bulky and expensive hardware, which is neither feasible nor advisable,” it said.
“This requires the creation of a separate, modern, primarily software-based, automated UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. Such systems may subsequently be integrated into traditional ATM systems,” it added.
The policy framework also provides the architecture and methodology for UTM Airspace, which includes unmanned aircraft traffic management in VLL airspace up to 1000 feet above ground level.
“This airspace (up to 1000 feet above ground level) shall be defined as UTM Airspace,” the policy stated.
“Further, this framework establishes the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, who are a part of the UTM ecosystem in India,” it added.
According to the policy, UTM systems will aid in achieving objectives such as identifying stakeholders and allowing them to communicate seamlessly with one another, separating unmanned aircraft from other manned and unmanned aircraft, and providing concerned stakeholders with situational awareness of VLL airspace.
The central government, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Airspace Management Agencies, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Authority, the Air Defence Authority, UAS Traffic Management Service Providers (UTMSP), Supplementary Service Providers (SSP), remote pilots, law enforcement and security agencies, and the general public are all key stakeholders in this.
“This policy framework shall allow third-party service providers to deploy highly automated, algorithm-driven software services for managing drone traffic across the country” said Smit Shah, Director, Drone Federation of India.
“The vision to conduct an outcome-based, time-bound UTM experiment as the key next step of the policy framework shall allow India to engage in a public-private partnership for developing safety and separation standards for drones and allow drone operations to scale up quickly in the country,” Shah added.