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Mumbai police ban use of drones in city; Amazon’s Prime Air’s test drive?

Mumbai residents are no longer permitted to fly drones, as the local authority has banned the use of unmanned aircraft in the city, reports Mumbai Mirror. The cops who had previously prohibited the use of drones till the end of the ongoing Ganesh festival (September 9) fearing the misuse of drones, has now extended the ban until regulatory mechanism on the use of drones is established.

This is the first time a government authority has banned the use of drones. Until now, the government’s stance on drones wasn’t clear, and it still isn’t outside the Mumbai city. In June, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the authority that monitors aviation told Deccan Chronicle that they hadn’t yet formulated (or revised the Aircraft Act, 1934) laws to govern the use of drones.

Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police commissioner told Mumbai Mirror that all the local police stations have been directed to identify sellers and owners of drone and serve them the ban notice.

Use of drones in India

Over the last few months, there has been a rapid growth in commercial uses of drones in the country. Companies like Housing.com, rental and sale and real estate, as well as emerging Indian agencies like Pixel Do, which provides digital photography and social media services have employed drones for commercial purposes.

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Government authorities themselves have used drones for monitoring purposes. Delhi Police and Indian Air Force have had been using unmanned drones to serve people. Mumbai police themselves have used unmanned aircraft for crowd surveillance on five occasions in the past two years.

Is India still the test drive for Amazon Prime Air?

Amazon which announced Prime Air, a project to deliver packages to customers, was reportedly using India — Mumbai and Bangalore cities as the launch pad for the service. The US technology company wasn’t able to test it in the United States, the place where it will eventually begin providing the Prime Air service due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disapproval of commercial use of drones in the country. According to the reports, the company will test drive the Prime Air in Mumbai and Bangalore. But now with the ban on drones use in Mumbai — a place where Amazon’s warehouse is located, it is uncertain if Amazon will still be able to test drive its project in the city.

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