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December 12, 2017

Government looks for tech to ground rogue drones


As India readies to allow use of drones in its skies, including for commercial purposes, the aviation ministry has started parleys with companies to identify a technology that can bring down rogue drones.

Aviation secretary RN Choubey held a meeting with technology solutions providers in the last week of November to discuss modes available to neutralise a drone in case it is not confirming to norms of flight, a ministry official said. "There is a technological solution available to neutralise drones," the official told ETon condition of anonymity.

"This solution blocks the link between the operator of drone on the ground and the drone, leading to immediate fall of the drone." Such solutions would be provided to the agencies tasked to secure airports and other vital installations across the country, the official said.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) early last month announced a draft policy for drones. It has categorised drones into five segments on the basis of weight — from 250 grams to over 150 kilograms.

Drones will not be allowed to operate within 5 km of airports and New Delhi's Vijay Chowk area, where several important government establishments including the Parliament building are located, according to the policy. Also, drones cannot also be operated within 50 km of international borders and within 500 metre radius of strategic locations notified by the home ministry and of military installations.

As drones are expected to be extensively used for commercial purposes, the global airline industry is also looking for technological solutions to neutralise drones.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) will release a document on anti-drone technology, identifying the options and sharing considerations early next year, according to Rob Eagles, the association's director for air traffic management and infrastructure.

"There are various different antidrone technologies, including detection and disablement of unmanned vehicles, available," Eagles told ET. "However, some anti-drone technologies disrupt the GPS signal of the unmanned vehicle and can also impact the aircraft's connectivity, which needs to be an assessed appropriately," he said.

economictimes

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