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Amazon files for drone safety patent in India: report

Amazon Technologies has filed a patent application in India for propeller technology to improve safety of automated aerial vehicles (AAVs), or as they’re popularly known drones, reports Business Standard. This technology will reportedly automatically detect any contact or any imminent contact between the drone’s propeller and an object, including humans and animals such as pets. Once such a contact is detected a variety of safety features will be initiated to stop or rapidly reduce propeller rotation, move the drone away from the object, emit a warning note, among others.

We’ve written to Amazon seeking further details about the patent application and the technology behind it, and are awaiting a reply.

This development comes at a time when Amazon has upped the ante on its Prime Air drone delivery project. Earlier this week the company was granted a patent for a shipping label, including a built-in parachute, by the US Patent and Trademark Office. A few months earlier, in March, the company made its first public drone delivery in the US, which followed the start of drone delivery trials in the UK in December last year.

Note that the United States FAA issued  guidelines for the commercial use of drones in February. The agency also offers rules for small drones under 55 pounds (~25kg) conducting non-recreational operations. The rules also limits flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations.

Drone policy in India

In May last year, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had released a draft paper (pdf) with guidelines for obtaining a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and permission to fly a civil unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The DGCA cited increasing civil use of UAS for damage assessment of property and life in areas with natural calamities, for surveys, infrastructure monitoring, commercial photography, aerial mapping etc., as reasons for the requirement of guidelines. More here

Earlier in the year, the Government of India had amended the Customs Baggage Declaration regulations to make it mandatory (pdf) to declare drones in customs forms, for people coming to India. On declaration, users will need to report to the customs officer at the Red Channel counter and are liable to pay duty on the item. The regulation came into force on April 1, 2016.

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