The civil aviation ministry on Tuesday permitted experimental drone flight operations, which would be beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS), of SpiceJet, Dunzo Air Consortium, Skylark Drones and Swiggy, and 17 other entities. The 17 other entities include Virginia Tech India, ShopX Omnipresent Consortium, Asteria Aerospace Private Limited, Centillion Networks Private Limited, Marut Dronetech Private Limited and Sagar Defence Engineering Private Limited, the ministry said.
The ministry has granted a conditional exemption to these 20 entities from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, for “conducting the BVLOS experimental flights", it said on Twitter. The exemption will be valid for a year or until further orders, it noted.
On May 13, 2019, a committee formed by the ministry had invited expressions of interest (EOIs) for BVLOS experimental flights. The committee evaluated the 34 EOIs received and selected the aforementioned 20 entities.
Last Friday, the Ministry fo Civil Aviation permitted the Telangana government to use drones for experimental delivery of vaccines within the visual line of sight. The ministry’s statement does not mention which particular vaccine will be part of this experimental delivery. The ministry on Twitter said it has granted conditional exemption to the Telangana government from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, for “conducting experimental delivery of vaccines using drones within the visual line of sight range".
This exemption will be valid for a period of one year or until further orders, it noted. On April 22, the ministry had permitted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct a feasibility study on using drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccine. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 15 crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. India is struggling with the second wave of the coronavirus infection as hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.