Drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is technically an aircraft without a human pilot. Drones have a ground-based controller and a UAV, which is either controlled by a remote controller or by onboard computers. The drones were originally used by military but now used in civilian applications in photography, surveillance, product deliveries and racing.

Small UAVs use the quadcopter design and because of their small size, less-powerful electric motors and batteries are used. These drones use lithium polymer batteries, flight controller and flight controller board. Sensors play a vital part in the flying and controlling of a drone: external information like distance are managed by exteroceptive sensors; internal and external states are managed by exproprioceptive sensors; separation assurance and collision prevention are managed by non-cooperative sensors. Drones also have gyroscopes, accelerometers, compass, barometer and GPS systems. Digital electronic speed controllers manage the speed by managing the RPM of the motors. Software plays a vital role in any type of drones: it includes a firmware, middleware and OS; open loop and closed loop principles are also deployed. Drones use bi-directional narrowband radio links to control flight, transfer telemetry data; audio/video data are transferred through a separate radio link or broadband links are used to merge the two.

The civilian drone market is relatively new and the major players are DJI, Parrot, 3DRobotics, etc.

1CivilDisaster relief, archaeology, conservation of biodiversity and habitat, law enforcement, crime, and terrorism
2CommercialAerial surveillance, filmmaking, night-time display for advertising, journalism, scientific research, surveying, cargo transport, and agriculture
3MilitaryReconnaissance, attack, demining, and target practice

Despite their usefulness, drones compromise airspace security if not handled properly. They can interfere with aircrafts, to perform malicious attacks, to smuggle contrabands, to deploy cyber-attacks and the like. Of late every country has created its own Drone Policy and Counter-Unmanned Air Systems (C-UAS) have also been developed.

In India, permission from the Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)is required for importing and operating drones. The drone pilot should be 18 years old and should have completed drone pilot training. DGCA regulations for drones are in effect from December 1, 2018.

Download DGCS Drone Regulations here…