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On August 27, 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, released the National Drone Policy, 1.0 and made flying drones in India legal. This landmark decision paved way for a wider application of drone technology in India. While the new drone policy has stirred excitement in terms of new market opportunities and interesting use cases – reduction of human intervention in sectors such as aviation, gathering precise spatial data to enable city planning and administration and so on, such policies need to have a precise safety and security framework to ensure they are not misused.

  • Domestic market for commercial drones is likely to overtake the military market by 2021, as per BIS Research
  • The drone space in India is on the verge of a major turnaround as a result of the green flag by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation 

While the drone policy 2.0 establishes an intricate system of application and approval procedures, it does not account for thorough monitoring of drones. It also ignores the implications of free movement of smaller drones, which have been exempted from many of the regulatory procedures.

Further, India has witnessed several instances of unidentified drone activity in the past – which may be a huge privacy concern in the coming years.

“India’s new drone policy can definitely benefit from stricter rules on surveillance.” – S. N. Dwivedi (Director -ELCOMPONICS AEROB TECHNOLOGIES INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED)

Drones may be misused for unethical activities such as corporate espionage, trespassing, surveillance, unauthorised photography and burglary.

Finally, the policy does not address the rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence and its effect on drone-based solutions – for instance, monitoring how drones collect, use, store and share data.

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