Saturday, September 26, 2020

India’s First NPNT Compliant Drone Flight Successfully Completed

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Quidich is proud to announce the successful completion of India’s First No-Permission No-Takeoff (NPNT) compliant drone flight on the A200 Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The flight was carried out in a green zone identified by the DGCA, near Tumkur in Karnataka and marks a critical breakthrough in online testing and permission systems. This will go a long way in opening up the skies for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
 
Until very recently, the use of Civil Unmanned Aerial Vehicles has been highly regulated in India by The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The DGCA had issued a blanket ban on civilian use of UAVs in 2014. However, in the following years, it became evident that UAVs offered significant advantages across diverse industry use-cases, ranging from Security and Surveillance applications, to Logistics and Aerial Cinematography. In view of this, MoCA & DGCA released a comprehensive policy on use of UAVs, which came into effect on 1st Dec 2018.
 
Under the new policy, only UAVs which complied to stringent manufacturing standards laid down by the government could be used. The UAV also had to be compliant with the newly formulated NPNT architecture. A Unique Identification Number (UIN) and an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), along with Online permission artifacts (OPA) for every flight, were made mandatory. The policy aimed to make the compliance workflow fully digital via a portal named Digital Sky, which was in development.
 
In light of this, Quidich Innovation Labs (www.quidich.com) and Asteria Aerospace (www.asteria.co.in) collaborated with a vision of completing India’s first NPNT compliant flight, enabled through the Digital Sky platform. Quidich is an aerial solutions company which provides aerial broadcasting services, both in India and globally for sporting events like the IPL. It caters to clients like the BCCI, ICC, Star Sports et al.
 
The process of getting to the first NPNT compliant flight was long and challenging. Asteria had to re-engineer their complete system to comply with the new standards. The A200 RPA System was subsequently certified by the DGCA to be NPNT compliant. The A200 Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) owned by Quidich was granted India’s first Unique Identification Number (U0000001). An online permission was then granted for the first NPNT Compliant Flight.
 
The test flight helped validate the successful operation of the Digital Sky platform and the efficacy of the online permission artefact architecture.
 
With the successfully validation of the entire compliance process via Digital Sky, the portal is now operational for use by the industry. We expect that the demarcation of flight zones (red, yellow, green) is completed at the soonest so that commercial UAV operations can resume.
 
Neil Gokhale, COO, Quidich Innovation Labs said, “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the entire team at the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the DGCA. The tireless efforts made by the Honourable Minister of Civil Aviation – Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Secretary, Civil Aviation, Shri P.S. Kharola, Joint Secretary, Shri Amber Dubey and their team who have made this possible. A special thanks to the efforts of the DGCA led by Shri. Arun Kumar for hand holding us through the entire process, Officials from the Airport Authority of India and to m/s Happiest Minds for building the Digital Sky portal.” 

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