Drones will be used for gathering geographical data for the upcoming Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on its website. The data gathered from the drones will be used to develop a web-based Geographical Information System (GIS) platform for the project. The Ministry and airline regulator DGCA have given a conditional exemption — valid until December 31, or the operationalisation of the Digital Sky platform — to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation, which is in-charge of the RRTS project, for deploying the drones.
Amber Dubey, joint secretary at the Civil Aviation Ministry and in-charge of the drones division, in a statement, said that this will help NCRTC in conducting “effective aerial surveillance”, and “project planning”. NCRTC will still have to obtain separate clearances from local administration, Home Ministry, Defence Ministry, Indian Air Force, and the Airport Authority of India before deploying the drones. The organisation will also have to obtain a separate permission from the DGCA to conduct aerial photography.
The drone itself — SPIDEX-600 — has been developed by Bengaluru-based Edall Systems, and is the only model which can be used for this mapping exercise. The drone will have to have adequate level of insurance coverage to cover any damages in case of an accident. The drones can only fly from sunrise to sunset, and in the visual line of sight of the pilot, that is, the drone will have to be directly visible to the pilot while in flight.
The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) aims to aid transport facilities between important cities around Delhi, including Meerut, Gurugram, and Panipat, among others. Phase 1 of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS is expected to be up and running by 2023.
Survey of India to map over 6 lakh villages
Drones are used extensively for mapping activities. Essentially, it means that a drone photographs a piece of land several times, and from several angles and assigns coordinates to each of those pictures. These pictures are then used to create three-dimensional models of that piece of land to understand its topography, among other things.
The Survey of India is carrying out an extensive drone mapping exercise in several Indian villages right now, as part of a scheme which promises to hand over title deeds to house owners after mapping their land using drones. Called the Svamitva scheme, its purported idea is to digitally map over 6 lakh Indian villages over the next four years, to provide title deeds to owners of residential properties in rural areas. The government claims that holders of land title deeds will be able to use their property for availing loans, and it will also allow to bring those properties under the tax bracket.
MediaNama has prepared an exhaustive guide to the drone industry in India, encompassing regulations, use cases, concerns around privacy and surveillance, and the way forward for the industry. The guide is available here.