September 23, 2018

Age of drones: Are you being watched?

As far as technological advancements are concerned, aircrafts were considered the pinnacle at a time. But the hunger to go completely automated has been one that mankind may never be able to suppress. This hunger has led to numerous inventions of bots and other fully automated systems, where manual interference is practically nought. Surpassing the previous benchmark and becoming better everyday is one such technology – drones!

Funding vs Investment

The first ever drones that mankind witnessed were invented during the First World War. Categorised as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)’ with no passengers or board crew have proved to be extremely useful, evident throughout history. The inter-war period witnessed the development of a large number of radio-controlled aircrafts. The initial models were launched using a catapult or by using radio control.

The reason why this technology was growing so rapidly was because, it could fly for a long time at controlled speeds and heights. It is said that, the drone name was inspired by the name of one of the radio-controlled UAV models, DH.82B Queen Bee. Underwater drones aren’t far behind too! The extent to which these drones can simplify our lives is unfathomable. Although we might be seeing a large number of future prospects in this technology, the dangers it could have to us are also not unavoidable. Taking into consideration the security and privacy factors, there were(are) strict laws in place by the government of India.

Earlier Policies

The earlier policy of drone flying in India included an insurance, to repay any damage if done to people or property. Any drone flying over 200 feet above the ground level, would have to obtain an UA operator unit (UAOP). Users with drones operating below that level, would too require a permission from the local administration. Any drone couldn’t even be disposed without DGCA’s permission. The user was expected to be over 18 years of age and have previous training equivalent to that undertaken by aircrew of manned aircraft for the ones wanting to fly over 200 feet. The reason for having such strict laws being passed were so that no one could get an open access which could be highly misused.

Modified Policies

A new policy has been put into place, revamping how drones have been utilised and can be utilised. This new policy will come into effect from December 1,2018.

It permits the operation of a drone within sight but only during daytime. Nano drones are allowed to operate below 50 feet and the micro ones below 200 feet. The UAVs can’t be flown within 5 kms of airports, permanent or temporary prohibited, danger areas and international borders within 25 kms. These can-not be used in mobile platforms like ships or aircrafts as well. Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission. Violation would be acted under relevant section IPC and Aircraft Section 1934.

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