Drones have crossed more than a million in number all around the world. This has led to several drone management systems spawning up over the years. The need for more UAV Traffic Management (UTM) systems has also increased. On December 1, 2018, India legalized drones in the country. Hence, it is estimated in a report that the Indian UAV market will grow to $885.7 million by the year 2021. Moreover, the government also announced its plans to build drone corridors and drone-ports in various places to facilitate healthy drone growth. Terra Fly India, one of the major drone companies, has sought an upper hand in drone management. They have sought out a partnership with the renowned UTM management company called Unifly.

An emerging UTM solution for India

Unifly’s highly automated traffic system combines state of the art technologies. These include flight planning, airspace approval, live tracking of UAS, and dynamic situational awareness, to handle a large number of drones flying in the most challenging environments. With the successful agreement, Terra Drone India will become an authorized reseller of Unifly in India. They will work closely with India’s central and state governments, aviation bodies, and other related authorities to merge them with Unifly’s advanced technological solutions. This will greatly help develop and improve drone traffic management in India.

Countries around the world have started becoming more cautious about drone regulations and laws. Especially after drones have become infamous for various unlawful activities. Drones in the past have attempted an assassination. Additionally, in December 2018, the United Kingdom’s second largest airport, Gatwick was shut down three times in three days just because of sightings of drones in the area. Drones can cause catastrophic damages to airplanes taking off or landing, thereby leading to fatal crashes in worst case scenarios. Thus, it is required to monitor a drone’s activity and flight pattern, to ensure that it does not fly into protected airspace.

Drone Policy 2.0 might help new UTM systems

Recently, India also announced its Drone Policy 2.0 which will look into the commercial application of drones. This will enable drones to be used for drone deliveries, mapping, agriculture, and many more activities involving BVLOS operations. Such kind of application requires a robust UTM system to be in place. Therefore, with the introduction of Unifly in India, the DGCA might just achieve that.

At Global Aviation Summit 2019, this policy was made public and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, said, “Our priority is to make India a world leader in the drone ecosystem. As we prepare to cross the thresholds of BVLOS, payloads, and automation, we need extremely sophisticated air traffic management. If there are thousands of drones in the sky, we should be able to find out exactly where each drone is, and seize control if needed.”

Unifly, the Belgium based company, is already expanding into the international market. It is working closely with the FAA in the United States to provide better UTM systems in test cities like New York. In Japan, it has joined hands with Hitachi to co-develop a UTM system for the country. Meanwhile, DFS, the company in charge of air traffic control for Germany, has decided to become an important shareholder in Unifly after working on its software for two years.

“With the new government policies, the commercial drone market in India is poised to grow significantly. But that would only be possible by regulating the new wave of drones and creating a safe flying environment for all. Unifly’s Unmanned Traffic Management system can facilitate this process by bringing the worlds best tried and tested technologies to the Indian airspace,” said Marc Kegelaers, CEO of Unifly.