Drone technology

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Drone technology

  • Ministry of Civil Aviation has suggested other Ministries to promote effective utilisation of drone applications.
  • It also urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance, situational analysis, crime control, VVIP security, disaster management, etc
  • The suggestion was made as part of initiatives to make India a global hub for drones under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.


  • The term “drone” usually refers to any unpiloted aircraft.
  • Sometimes referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles"" (UAVs), these crafts can carry out an impressive range of tasks, ranging from military operations to package delivery.
  • Drones can be as large as an aircraft or as small as the palm of your hand.
  • They were originally developed for military and aerospace industries but now also used for various other purposes.
  • A drone’s autonomy level can range from remotely piloted (a human controls its movements) to advanced autonomy, which means that it relies on a system of sensors and LIDAR detectors to calculate its movement.
  • Drones can benefit almost every sector of the economy, national defence, agriculture, law enforcement, and mapping, among others.

Drone Uses

  • Military
  • Today’s drones are much more advanced than the UAVs of yesteryear, equipped with thermal imaging, laser range finders and even tools to perform airstrikes.
  • Delivery
  • Retailers and grocery chains all over the country are turning to drones as a more efficient delivery alternative, instead of relying on delivery drivers with inefficient trucks.
  • Emergency Rescue
  • Sometimes it’s just not safe enough to send humans into a rescue situation due to the scope or severity of the disaster. That’s where drones come in.
  • Agriculture
  • Carrying out field surveys, seeding over fields, tracking livestock and estimating crop yield are all made easier through the use of UAVs while saving agriculture professionals valuable time.
  • Outer Space
  • It seems that drones have been made a priority when it comes to the future of space exploration and innovation.
  • Wildlife and Historical Conservation
  • Drones are a cheaper and more efficient alternative to wildlife conservation. Tracking wildlife populations is nearly impossible with humans on the ground. Having an eye-in-the-sky allows wildlife conservationists to get a better idea of the health of their species and ecosystems.
  • Medicine
  • Drones are also being tapped to deliver donated organs & medicine where connectivity is low.
  • Photography
  • Drones have been a boon for photographers who use UAVs to take expansive aerial photos.
  • Related dangers
  • Cheap and can be bought online by anyone. Tracking who is buying drones for what purpose is virtually impossible currently.
  • Anonymity of the user due to drones’ uncontrolled proliferation.
  • Do not require much technical expertise to use.
  • Use of drones by terrorists causes a disproportionate psychological effect on people as well as on security personnel.
  • Terrorist drones can be deployed anywhere in the country.


  • They are battery-powered, and hence relatively quiet & can be manually controlled or programmed to fly low giving the defender very little warning time.
  • Detection by normal civil and military radars is difficult as their radar cross-section is very small.
  • When a drone makes an approach at night or drones are used in a swarm to saturate defenses, quick response can be difficult.
  • The Indian security forces have been testing anti-drone jammer technology along the border but it now turns out that communications between domestic security agencies get jammed when this system is deployed.

India’s new drone rules, 2021

  • Digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
  • No flight permission required upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No pilot licence required for non-commercial drones, nano drones and for R&D organisations.
  • No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  • Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
  • No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  • No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  • Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  • Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  • Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.


  • There is a need for intensifying observation 24×7 to track likely places from where drones are launched.
  • India is certainly lagging behind in UAV and drone technology. It needs to work seriously in operationalizing their range of UAVs and drones.
  • Since R&D and manufacture of anti-drone systems are at a nascent stage in India, some should be sourced through imports for certain vital areas.
  • A task force should be formed that should be skilled at taking time-bound anti-drone measures.
  • Helicopters can be used to detect and engage UAVs.
  • Tracking drones via optical or infra-red means or multi-sensors including sound can be done.
  • Laser-based Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) is a possible defense system against drone attacks.
  • Government needs to relax the regulations on uses of drones in domestic arena.
  • A mechanism to monitor the proliferation of drones and anti-drone technology needs to be instituted quickly.
  • The policy needs to legitimize legal players and prevent the technology from landing up in wrong hands.