Hyderabad: Telangana, the youngest State in India is taking several initiatives in the emerging technologies space. While other States are still evaluating the potential of drones, the State has come out with a comprehensive draft policy for the use of them. The Information Technology, Electronics & Communications Department of Telangana has also conceptualised ‘Telangana Drone City’, wherein an ecosystem will be developed to support remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) technologies, which will attract more companies in the segment.
Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary (Industries, Commerce, and ITE&C), Government of Telangana, told Telangana Today, “The Telangana Drone City will provide one-of-its-kind facilities to support the research, manufacturing, and operations of RPAS technology suites. It is a concept city where the entire lifecycle of the drone from designing, manufacturing, utilisation and maintenance & repair will take place within the city under one focused ecosystem in Hyderabad. There would be no physical cluster or infrastructure created for it.”
He added, “This initiative will help existing drone companies to demonstrate their capabilities and test new use cases as well as attract drone companies which are based elsewhere to set up operations in Hyderabad.”
Taking a step forward, the State is now gearing up to support beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions to accelerate the adoption of commercial drone operations in India.
The Department is striving to achieve BVLOS compliance certification, which will make it the first State to support commercial drone deliveries. The Government of Telangana has already submitted a proposal seeking certification to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) along with private drone companies such as Terra Drone India, Zipline, and Marut Drones. Telangana’s expression of interest (EOI) in seeking the certification is a natural extension of the vision to create the Telangana Drone City.
Ranjan said that the induction of these technologies into mainstream administration and governance delivery can make a positive impact on the lives of millions of citizens.
Wing Commander Polu Sreedhar, COO, Terra Drone India, said, “Telangana is the only State that has applied for BVLOS compliance certification from DGCA. Others are from the industry. The deadline for expression of interest closes on July 10, post which, DGCA will issue clearances within next six months. Upon receiving the compliance certification, the State and the companies can begin pilot studies.”
He added, “The certification will allow using drones for long-range activities such as forest surveillance, and covering large agriculture fields and urban/non-urban areas. Terra Drone in the past has done work in the areas of mining and agriculture.”
Medical product delivery company Zipline’s partnership with the Government of Telangana for BVLOS drones aims to provide emergency deliveries of blood and critical medicines to remote primary healthcare centres across the State. T-Hub registered startup Marut Drones is working with GHMC to eradicate mosquitoes and water hyacinth on lakes.