Drones

A world that drone rules 2021 make possible – Lexology

Summary

The growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles warranted that the government of India bring in the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 (“UAS Rules”). While these were brought in with huge expectations, they did not quite receive the excitement and traction as expected. Perhaps on account of the onerous compliance burdens and processes that were attached to them. In an effort to ease compliance hurdles and facilitate growth of the Indian drone industry, the Ministry of Civil Aviation…….

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The growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles warranted that the government of India bring in the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 (“UAS Rules”). While these were brought in with huge expectations, they did not quite receive the excitement and traction as expected. Perhaps on account of the onerous compliance burdens and processes that were attached to them. In an effort to ease compliance hurdles and facilitate growth of the Indian drone industry, the Ministry of Civil Aviation notified the more liberalised Drone Rules 2021 (“Drone Rules”) on 25 August 2021. The Drone Rules supersede the erstwhile UAS Rules.

Applicability

The Drone Rules apply to (a) all persons owning or possessing, or engaged in leasing, operating, transferring or maintaining an unmanned aircraft system (“UAS” or “Drone”) in India; (b) all Drones that are registered in India; and (c) all Drones that are being operated for the time being, in or over India. The Drone Rules do not apply to Drones that belong to, or are used by the naval, military or air forces of the Union of India.

With the Drone Rules now in force, all Drones (other than those with an all-up-weight of more than 500 kilograms) will be governed by the Drone Rules and hence not come within the purview of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.

Getting Started

Let us take a quick look at some basic information and requirements that will make usage of Drones in India possible under the Drone Rules:

  • Categorisation:  Simply speaking any aircraft that can operate autonomously or can be operated remotely without a pilot on board is called a Drone. It can be (a) an aeroplane; or (b) a rotorcraft; or (c) a hybrid UAS. It can be further sub categorised into a remotely piloted aircraft system; a model remotely piloted aircraft system or an autonomous Drone.
  • Classification: Depending on the maximum all-up weight including payload, Drones can be classified as nano, micro, small, medium or large (ranging from 250gms to 150 kgs).
  • Type Certification: To operate a Drone in India, a user is required to obtain a type certificate. A type certificate can be procured through the digital sky platform (“DSP”). The DSP is an online platform for regulating permissions and approvals for the registration and operations of Drones. Any person or organisation engaged in manufacturing or importing of Drones, operating Drones for Research, Development and Testing purposes as mentioned in the Drone Rules; or operating a model remotely piloted aircraft system or a nano Drone will not require obtaining a type certificate.  
  • Safety Features: No Drone is qualified for operation unless the mandated safety features are installed on it prior to use. These include (a) No Permission – No Take off hardware and firmware; (b) real-time tracking beacon that communicates with the Drone’s location, altitude, speed and unique identification …….

    Source: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=fa8f6852-6b31-453c-8ec5-d8dd4fb167d9