By Nikhil Cariappa

Honeywell has launched its commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Inspection and Data Analytics services in India. Primarily targeted at the utilities and oil and gas companies, these services will be useful for ‘eliminating many of the risks associated with dangerous structural examinations,’ the company said in a statement. 

Honeywell’s UAV uses a three-step process to conduct inspections –

  1. A flight plan is charted out during a preliminary inspection
  2. Next, Honeywell’s UAV operators complete the inspection and capture images, videos and all other data relevant for the client
  3. Finally, the images and data are processed through a proprietary data analytics software to make interpretations and find solutions

Honeywell claims that its software uses machine learning algorithms to identify potential hazards. The data can be accessed by clients through a web portal.

In August, 2018 the government announced new regulations for drone operations in India. Now, operators can import/manufacture and operate drones in the Indian market.

In May, 2016, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released a draft paper with guidelines for obtaining a Unique Identification Number (UIN) and permission to fly a civil unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The increasing use of drones and the potential risks involved forced the DGCA to regulate the sector. However, earlier this year, several Indian drone firms came together and formed a private association called Drone Federation of India, to collectively petition the government. They objected to strict regulations on the weight of drones, and the 200-feet ceiling on flight height. The regulations will be effective from 1st December, 2018.

Recent developments in the drone sector 

  • Amazon applied for a patent for proprietary drone tech in India designed to identify objects from a distance and help its delivery drones avoid collisions
  • The Indian government will use drone tech in various sectors, including agriculture, and disaster management.
  • Indian Railways will use drones to monitor tracks, traffic and rescue operations
  • Mumbai City Police will use drones for aerial surveillance of important events