wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

COVID-19: Drones being used to spray disinfectants in Varanasi

drone, france, India

Drones are being used in UP’s Varanasi, a city with a population of 1.4 million, for spraying disinfectant in COVID-19 hotspots and containment areas, isolation areas, quarantine areas, and shelter homes, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said in a statement. The flight path of these drones is also being recorded. Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency that Prime Minister Narendra Modi represents. Garuda Aerospace, a Chennai-based private company has provided the drones, which were airlifted from Chennai with “special permission” from the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

With this, Varanasi joins Delhi, Telangana, Kerala, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, among others, where drones are being used to either surveil lockdown violators, or spray disinfectants.

A seven-member team, with two drones has been operationalised for this purpose. Trial runs were completed on April 17. Drones are flown using a remote-control device by drone pilots, and every flight lasts anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes, after which the disinfectant is refilled and batteries are replaced. Apart from spraying disinfectants, the flight path of the drone, and the subsequent area covered is also recorded on a “hand held device with GIS maps on the backend which is plugged to the remote controller”. It is unclear what happens to these recordings, and how they are saved and shared.

The Ministry said that vehicles used for drone operations are fitted with GPS and GSM based wireless cameras using which the entire movement of drones and their operations are centrally monitored from the Kashi Integrated Command and Control Centre. The sanitary inspector and other members of the drone team report to the nodal officer before and after drone operations are carried out at each designated location.


Read: Inside the deployment of drones in Delhi to contain COVID-19

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The money being spent on this exercise is hefty — average cost of operations range from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 per day per drone and is dependent on the area covered in acres. Operations in Delhi for instance, are being done with no financial exchange in place. The operational cost of the exercise in Varanasi, which includes service and chemical costs, are covered by the city’s administration, while the capital costs of the equipment are handled by the “agency concerned”. It isn’t clear which agency the ministry is referring to here.

According to the Digital Sky platform, which handles permissions for flying drones in India, “Fight Permission is currently in abeyance, till further orders from Competent Authority”. Drones (except nano types) are required to receive a clearance before they can fly, and can’t take off unless they get the clearance. However, from the message on the Digital Sky platform,  it appears as if the permission is not needed for now, although MoHUA did say that “special permission” was taken from the Civil Aviation Ministry. We’ve reached out to aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation for more details.

“Assuming that the drones are used after complying with the extant domestic regulations for the use of drones in India, it may still have major implications for data privacy. In fact, in a recommendation for legislation around the use of drones, the Hungarian Data Protection Authority has emphasised that data processing with drone-mounted accessories has data protection implications. This is because even the proper use of drones can be very invasive into the privacy of people due to the ability and effect of the tool to collect data about everything that is in its field of vision, which is, compared to the use of similar technologies, unusually wide and can be changed very quickly,” Vaneesha Jain, Associate Partner at Saikrishna & Associates had written in an op-ed for MediaNama earlier this year.

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

Find out how people’s health data is understood to have value and who can benefit from that value.

News

The US and other countries' retreat from a laissez-faire approach to regulating markets presents India with a rare opportunity.

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

You May Also Like

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ