On May 27, 2022, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s biggest Drone Festival, Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, Delhi.
During the Mahotsav, the PM met with Kisan drone pilots, watched open-air drone demonstrations, and also interacted with start-ups at the drone exhibition centre.
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia (Jyotiraditya M. Scindia), Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, and Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh.
Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022
i.The two-day Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 took place on May 27–28, 2022.
ii.Over 1600 participants attended the Mahotsav, including government officials, foreign diplomats, armed forces, central armed police forces, Public Sector Units (PSUs), private companies, drone start-ups, and others.
iii. At the exhibition, more than 70 exhibitors showcased various drone use cases. It has also witnessed a virtual award of drone pilot certificates, product launches, panel discussions, flying demonstrations, and the showcasing of a Made in India Drone Taxi prototype, among other things.
Use Of Drone Technology in Various Fields:
i.Under the PM Svamitva (Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Yojana, drones were employed for the first time in digital land mapping of every property in villages.
- It is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj that was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day, by the Prime Minister.
ii.In August 2021, the Ministry of Civil Aviation relaxed drone rules by lowering the number of required forms and charges for drone operations.
iii. Drone technology assisted in the rapid distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the First Time, India Post Delivered Mail Using a Drone in Gujarat
For the first time in India’s postal history, the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication, has successfully conducted a pilot project to carry mail using drone technology in Gujarat’s Kutch district.
- The drone covered a distance of 46 km in 25 minutes from Habay village in Bhuj taluka to Ner village in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district in Gujarat.
India’s First Flying Taxi ‘e200’ Showcased at Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022
At the Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 in New Delhi, ePlane Company, an aviation and aerospace component manufacturing company, displayed a static prototype of the ‘e200’ — a two-seater — one seat for the pilot and one passenger — electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). The e200 is regarded as India’s first flying taxi.
- The ePlane company is headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Features Of e200 – India’s First Flying Taxi
i.It is a fully electric, human-piloted, 2-seater vehicle with a footprint of 5×5 metres and a weight of roughly 200 kilograms (kg).
- It will have a range of 200 kilometres (km), a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour, and the ability to fly at a maximum altitude of 3,000 feet.
ii.The first human flight trial on e200 is expected by 2023.
iii. Shreya Rastogi is part of the team developing India’s first flying taxi, having previously worked with NASA to create a new spacesuit material.
- She is a US-licensed private pilot from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, and completed Aerospace Engineering from the University of California in 2018.
Note: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has recently invited North American eVTOL technology companies to India for urban mobility and to establish production facilities.
L&T Partners with NewSpace Research & Technologies to Develop Submarine Launched UAVs
At the Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 in New Delhi, Larsen & Toubro (L & T) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NewSpace Research & Technologies (NRT), a Bengaluru (Karnataka) based start-up.
- Under the MoU, L&T will work with NewSpace Research & Technologies to develop a new range of Submarine-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to meet Indian Navy requirements.
Submarine launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
i.Submarine-launched UAVs are a relatively new concept, with just a few countries around the world capable of operating them.
- The United States has deployed Submarine-launched UAVs on its submarines.
ii.As the drone must navigate through water before taking to the air for flight, they are classified as a complex design and development project.
- It will have an underwater and an airborne component, making it one of India’s most forward-thinking product development initiatives.
iii. The Indian Navy recently issued a proposal for Submarine launched UAVs through the Defence Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO) Technology Development Fund.
L & T has the credibility of having worked extensively on Indian Arihant Class nuclear-armed submarines.
NewSpace Research & Technologies is working on a High-Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) UAV and an air-launched swarm drone system with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
About Ministry of Civil Aviation:
Union Minister – Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (Rajya Sabha – Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS) – General (Retd.) Vijay Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad constituency, Uttar Pradesh)