On December 1st, 2018, India legalized drones and released several sets of rules to be followed for a safe flight. The CAR D3X-X1 issued by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) introduced the NPNT (No-Permission No-Takeoff) policy. According to this rule, all drones must have an NPNT compliance certificate from their manufacturers or distributors. Till now 5 Indian drone companies have been able to achieve this and develop NPNT compliant drones. On 12th September 2019, India’s first drone was legally registered with the DGCA’s online portal called the Digital Sky.

Digital Sky
The online drone registration portal: Digital Sky

India’s first legal drone

Asteria Aerospace, a Bangalore based UAV startup got their drone registered on the Digital Sky platform. Asteria provides dronebased solutions in demanding industries like oil & mining, and security. They develop drones and systems for surveillance, survey, and aerial safety. The CYGNUS, A400, and A200 are some of their featured drones.  The registration was done in collaboration with another startup, Algopixel Technologies.

CYGNUS drone
The CYGNUS drone by Asteria Aerospace

When a new drone is purchased it must be registered on the Digital Sky platform just like how a new automobile is registered at the RTO. As per NPNT regulations, a drone manufacturer is required to generate a Drone Key Pair, maintain a Management Server for UINs and registration records, getting a Digital Sky API and several other crucial steps. For the particular registration, this was enabled by iDronePort Management Server developed by Algopixel Technologies. The third-party management server comes with a desktop application to assist in the generation of a key pair and signing of data using a DSC Token. The iDronePort solution allows the developers to switch to Testbed mode which allows the developers to simulate the complete registration flow during the development process.

idroneport management server
The iDronePort Web App by Algopixel Technologies

DICE(Digital India Collective for Empowerment) shared the successful registration on the micro-blogging site, Twitter:

india's first drone registration

How this could impact future drones

With India’s first registration successfully carried out, a higher number of registrations can be expected to occur. The increasing feasibility of technology and third-party applications like the iDronePort Server are making drone registrations easier than ever before.

Until now, most drones were restricted due to NPNT compliance. As this issue stands resolved, Indian skies can see hundreds of drones taking flight by 2020. This also marks the legal entry of drones into civilian airspace. Industries and civilians alike can now register and fly drones. Core industries such as agriculture, surveillance, oil, mining, and law enforcement can fully take advantage of this structure.