Drones are becoming the eyes and ears of scientists by surveying the ground for archaeological sites, signs of illegal hunting and crop damage, and even zipping inside hurricanes to study the wild storms.

Drones are also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - These stealth crafts are becoming increasingly popular, not just for war and military purposes, but also for everything from wildlife and atmospheric research to disaster relief, sports photography and in the supply chain. Drones are becoming more and more popular for weddings, giving the couple a 360 view of their big day.

Most of us have seen the movie URI and can relate to the covert operations done by the Indian army to understand the ground forces of our enemy and plan the attack accordingly.

Recently consignments of arms and ammunitions were dropped in Chandigarh, just across the Indian border by heavy lift drones sent by ISI.

Drone technologies can be useful and very disastrous at the same time hence we need to have an anti-drone technology to counter these threats. DGCA and CISF are conducting trials to procure an anti-drone technology to combat these sudden threats.

Drones have had an interesting journey with widespread applications in various sectors. Focussing on the maritime space drones are extensively being tested for their applications in-

  • Maritime security and surveillance
  • Maritime search and rescue
  • Autonomous cargo deliveries
  • Applications Of Drones In Ports
  • In Vietnam, drones are being used in one of their ports for aerial cargo transport
  • In Norway, drones are being used to monitor and clean up the local environment in one of the ports.
  • In Israel, Aerobotics drones are supporting the construction of the country’s largest port project at Haifa, with daily mapping and surveying.
  • In Singapore, a new maritime drone estate will be launched to provide a conducive environment to test and develop applications for the sector, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.
  • In the Netherlands, home to Europe’s largest port, preparations are underway to use a large, unmanned flying vehicle capable of travelling well over 10 miles from the shore to detect emissions from ships.
  • Drone Market Size

In a 2016 report, Goldman Sachs estimated that drone technologies will reach a total market size of $100 billion between 2016 and 2020. Though 70% of this figure would be linked to military activities, the commercial business represents the fastest growth opportunity, projected to reach $13 billion between 2016 and 2020.

  • Government Regulations and Policies

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. However, there is an altitude restriction of 400 feet in order to avoid low-flying manned aircraft and operations are limited to daytime flying only.

  • Looking Ahead

India’s Director General of Civil Aviation will soon be having a committee to start looking at opening a few restrictions on drone flying norms.

Until then, VLOS deployments should help India use drones to its advantage in the maritime sector and also provide an opportunity to identify safety and privacy elements that need due consideration in case India decides to opt for BVLOS operations in the future.

  • Fun Facts On Drones
  • In May 2014, Francesso’s Pizzeria in Mumbai became the first restaurant in India to have a margarita pizza delivered via a drone. Flying over the traditional delivery system made sense in a city known for its jammed roads and bustling residents.
  • Amazon is seriously considering the use of drones in its daily delivery; the Prime Air service is said to be able to deliver packages within 30 minutes via UAV’s.
  • In remote areas, such as Africa, drones are used for the shipment of live-saving medical equipment and medication where human transport would be too time consuming.
  • Domino’s are trialling drones for delivering the product as quickly and as hot as possible.
  • Drones are going to revolutionise the farming world. Drones will give farmers a view of their field including damaged crops and those ready to harvest.