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Kochi Metro Rail allowed to deploy drones for water transport project


The Union Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday granted conditional permission for the use of drones to the Kochi Metro Rail. Drones will be used for Integrated Urban Regeneration and Water Transport System Project (IURWTS), which aims to makes canals in the city navigable. The permission is valid until the end of the year.

Kochi has five major canals, spread across 34 kilometres, and the project’s core idea is to develop the city’s urban area for inland navigation, and increase last mile connectivity. Drones will be used for mapping the waterbodies to obtain topographical data, so that a navigable path can be chalked out around the canals.

“KMRL shall take necessary permission regarding Aerial Photography from Directorate of Regulations & Information. DGCA or Ministry of Defence (as applicable). The photographs/video-graphs, taken through RPAS shall be used by KMRL only. KMRL shall be responsible for safety and secu1rity of RPAS and data collected through RPAS…KMRL shall ensure safety, security and privacy of public, property, operator etc.,” the order said.

Kochi Metro Rail will have to obtain separate permissions from the local administration, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, Indian Air Force, and the Airport Authority of India before deploying drones for the project, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in the permission order.

Tamil Nadu-based Senselmage Technologies has been engaged by Kochi Metro Rail to supply the drones required for the project. Only the drone models that have received the Ministry’s approval can be deployed. Kochi Metro will also have to ensure that only and trained and experienced people be allowed to fly the drones.

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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.

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