DailyPost 1797

In the age of disruptive technologies, each of these have the capability to change our world forever, from autonomous vehicles to 5G to robotics to drones. The chain can keep going on and the apex technology which provides the final value add is Artificial Intelligence. Any country becoming a world leader in one of these or more, is bound to change its technology and economic landscape. Usage can elevate you by one level but the real crowning glory would be production and that to massive large-scale of drones. Will we be able to create that sort of a market as the application of drones is as good as universal and clearly makes a cut to the level of general-purpose technology.

Yesterday, drones were given wings in this country. That the existing drone regime besides being cumbersome, was infructuous. This has been the backdrop of the liberalized Drone Rules 2021, announced yesterday. The approvals, payload, fees, no flying zones etc. were given a go by and on the face of it, drone operations are bound to become smooth. Large number of companies and other organizations would start using drones in a big way. The sectors which are in dire need of drones would get covered. It is also believed that manufacturing of drones would get a major boost. Agriculture, forestry and utilities can be the simple examples.

Policies and rules are made on presumptions and projections with some sprinkling of conjectured data. India has the potential to become the Global Drone Hub by 2030. Potential to reality has been the biggest challenge. We have been meandering between different visions. Are we thinking of creating some drone manufacturing hubs or a research center which specializes in drone applications for variety of areas; the nature of payloads, its delivery, the utility, the more granular we get, more we likely to achieve. Specializing in any technology commercially is long haul. Company wise DJI or mass scale production of Shenzhen, we have to create our own multi-billion dollar companies and our manufacturing tech hubs.

A FICCI report estimates the drone marketplace at Rs. 300,000 crore (roughly $40 billion). Homeland security accounts for around 50 per cent. Have we not heard of $9 billion homeland security market around 2015? From where these projections come to vanish into the blue, no one knows. The challenge is of using the liberalized rules to business prosperity of nation, while bringing in a new level of ease of life and a data machine which could fuel every engine of artificial intelligence. Drones are an important component of our data enabled and driven world. From preventative maintenance of pipeline or predict the ripening of a crop or as weapon on war, it has it all. The robust growth of Digital Sky Platform can be the game changer.


Sanjay Sahay

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