India’s Civil Aviation Regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, has permitted two Bangalore Based Startups, SkyLark Drones and Throttle Aerospace Systems to manufacture drones under the New Digital Sky Policy.
Digital Sky Policy
The government recently came up with Digital Sky Policy (December 2018) as a single-window platform for drone companies to take permissions and get quick approvals for flight operations, registration and management. This step is expected to benefit the services of enterprises running large fleets of drones for air surveys and food-delivery.
For drone manufacturers, DGCA has put out the requirements relating to software identification of drones, the NPNT system, flight logs, and other criteria. However, the regulator is facing a challenge with creating a system to check the hardware and software capabilities of drones to certify them as airworthy.
While drones have emerged as the next phase of technology, safety and privacy issues have encouraged the government to regulate their use.
The two startups- SkyLark Drones and Throttle Aerospace Systems, have the first-ever certification by the DGCA. The operators have to get digital permission from the DGCA, and the drones will, after that, be allowed to take off.
With the current policy structure, the consent system has become integral to flying a drone in India.
All drones have to be No-Permission-No-Takeoff compliant necessarily. This software helps the drones to take digital permission and operate. This can help bring drone delivery of food and online purchases a reality.
“The certification allows us to become a provider of the NP-NT module and we’re in talks with other drone manufacturers in China and the UK to use our solution to get their drones certified,” Mrinal Pai, co-founder of Skylark Drones told the media.
Skylark doesn’t look forward to manufacturing the drones for buyers. The company is a service provider and aims tat building a marketplace for enterprises to contract drones for activities such as surveillance, geospatial mapping and other applications.
Throttle Aerospace Systems, on the other hand, plans to manufacture its drones and is already working with clients such as the Ministry of Defence, HAL, Wipro, and the Natural Disaster Response Force.
The two startups got their certificates under the visual line of sight category, as per which, the drones have to be within the visible distance of the user.
Several firms had applied for the certification, but only Skylark and Throttle were successful in getting it.
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