Decoding India’s new drone regulations

Rahat Kulshreshtha is Treasurer of the Drone Federation of India and Founder of Quidich Innovation Labs, a Mumbai-based drone company (which won the contract this year to take drone footage of the Indian Premier League). “The lack of regulation was a very uncomfortable place to be for everyone,” he says. “This is the first step towards a much larger drone ecosystem.

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Come December 1, we can expect to see even more drone imagery in news broadcasts, commercial videos, wedding and vacation vlogs. The author hopes that the new regulatory environment will also inspire public-private collaborations to help ease traffic systems and preserve natural ecosystems

Game of drones: on India’s new regulations


They are not the easiest things to regulate — you are looking at privacy, safety, security. The current regulations are fairly comprehensive, but the authorities have called it ‘version one’ because they understand that there will be changes based on how things unfold.” Here, the enthusiast helps us decode drone terminology:

UIN: Unique Identification Number, which is similar to the license plate on your car, so you can identify every drone in the sky

Digital Sky: the online platform through which all applications, submissions and clearances will be done

UAOP: Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit, the equivalent of your driver’s license. It allows an individual to be qualified enough to fly the drone by requiring minimum amounts of training. It will be valid for five years from the date of issue.

Zones: Red zones are no-fly areas (which include regions close to airports, national borders and military bases); yellow zones require approvals before flying, and green zones are unrestricted.

Categories: the drones are classified into five categories based on weight. They are: Nano (250 grams or less), micro, small, medium and large (heavier than 150 kg). Permissions and restrictions vary based on the category.


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