Drones in India – High Time for New Rules

In this article:
After many years, the Indian government has relaxed the drone import and usage norms, based on trust. Let's get into the details using Skydio drones.

Why does Modi have a 70% approval rating among 13 global leaders? Could mean plenty of things, including stepping in to break the cumbersome shackles of civilian drone ownership in India.

What does one have to do to legally purchase and use a drone? The red tape of DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) has now been liberalised, thanks to our PM for understanding the practical needs of startups and other sectors who would benefit from using a UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle) for the development of the country.

When our Matterport counterparts in the US add drone footage to their service offerings, we used to wonder why India was stuck in some medieval age blaming the process on privacy and security concerns. Now, we may just be able to legally import and use drones, following the guidelines.

Taking Control

Skydio 2 Controller - Adostrophe

Let’s look at some of the changes/features of the Drone Rules 2021:

  • Import clearance from DGCA is no longer required. The import process will be regulated by DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) from now.
  • Pilot licenses and training requirements will be prescribed by DGCA. Keep an eye out for drone schools in your area. The list will be available in Digital Sky.
  • Digital Sky is going through a major upgrade. The government says it will be designed to be user-friendly and that the permissions will be auto generated.
  • Several approvals (like UAN, UPIN and other certificates) abolished – learn more on the official press release here.
  • 25 forms reduced to 5, and 72 types of fees reduced to 4. This means that buying a small drone for capturing events, buildings, villages, farms, etc, should be hassle-free going forward.
  • Last, but not the least – the new rules have been formulated based on trust. Please take responsibility so that you don’t mess things up for the rest of us. Ensure you’re well-trained, taken all certifications and do not intrude on anyone else’s space. Common sense goes a long way – keep your local police station informed of your flight plans. If they request for any official help later on, don’t miss out on the opportunity.

Bird's Eye View

Now that the process is out of the way, we can look at the options we have for high resolution drone footage. Images and videos shown in this blog article are courtesy US-based Skydio, Inc.

Sydio X2 - Adostrophe

Presented above is the Skydio X2 that’s primarily designed for enterprises. The X2’s use-cases can be plenty, including the below:

  • Construction site status
  • Monitoring agricultural lands
  • Search and Rescue
  • Defence patrol

Avoiding the overwhelming technical details, we try to be as simple as possible, in our language. One of the reasons we wrote this blog post is to let Matterport users in India know that they can have an additional tool in their kit – the elusive drone.

Skydio is popular for its autonomous systems, which means minimal interference from our end. There’s this breathtaking beachside villa for sale in Chennai – let the drone do the heavy lifting for you to help promote the builder. For interiors though, the Matterport Pro2 is the industry standard.

We are working on importing Skydio and DJI drones soon – stayed tuned for more info. Meanwhile, let’s look at other exciting things:

Autonomy is the Word

Make the Skydio 2 follow you when you run, cycle or ride, automatically. How cool is that?!

Talking about the consumer drone, the highest option is the Pro Kit that includes the Tablet Adaptor and Skydio Premiere support. The Cinema Kit includes the Joystick Controller, Pro Hard Case and PolarPro ND filters, excluding the Pro Kit items. 

The Sports Kit includes a Dual Charger, 128GB Class 30 MicroSD Card and the unique Skydio Beacon. These items are not included in the starter kit that starts at $1,349. Be prepared for another 50% for customs, IGST and shipping to India.

Fallen in Love Yet?

We believe that a drone is the key to capture India in 360 degrees, if not in 3D. An autonomous one like this would make a village famous instantly. Upload on Google Street View, and that area would get direct buyers of the produce that they are popular for.

The Skydio X2 drones for businesses start at around 12 lakhs, including customs. The consumer drone is around 1.5 lakhs, which should be a good starting point for your autonomous drone expedition – be it recreational or professional purposes. We leave you with a video to take all of it in:

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