Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Government to set up facilities to test drone parts as use cases rise

The National Test House (NTH), an industrial testing laboratory under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, has been assigned the task of establishing testing facilities for drone subparts. These subparts include the battery, camera, landing gear, propellers, motors, flight controller, and receiver, among others.

Currently, only a few private agencies are dedicated to testing these subparts.

The first such testing facility will be established in Ghaziabad. The equipment procurement process is underway and the testing lab is expected to be fully ready in the next three to four months, said DV Rajagopala Rao, scientist heading the science and technology cell at the NTH.

Rao, who is one of the two people cited above, said there will be 7-8 types of tests for subparts of the drone, including electrical, mechanical and software tests, to study robustness, flight capability, leakage of battery and flight. control and damage in case of forced landing.

The queries sent to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs remained unanswered until the closing of this edition.

This facility is in addition to drone type certification, and NTH is creating a facility to test drone parts for compliance with applicable national and international standards.

Drone certification by NTH will be quite cost-effective compared to private testing agencies, which charge a high fee for certification, the first person said.

According to the proposal, the NTH will be able to charge up to $2 lakh for each certification to encourage drone manufacturing in India. NTH Ghaziabad has received interest from 12 drone manufacturers for type certification of their models, said the first person, who did not wish to be identified.

Following NTH certification, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will issue licenses to drone manufacturers, allowing them to manufacture an unlimited number of drones.

The National Test House provides quality services such as testing, calibration and quality evaluation of engineering materials and finished products in various fields including chemical, civil, mechanical, electrical, non-destructive, metallurgy, rubber, plastics, papers and textiles. materials.

Since its establishment in 1919, NTH has dedicated its scientific and quality assessment services to various national construction projects, such as bridges, highways, airports, steel plants, refineries, power plants and railway projects.

The industry has supported the government’s plan to test drone parts. Anoop Kumar Upadhyay, co-founder of IoTechWorld, a domestic agricultural drone manufacturer, said, “We appreciate the government’s initiative. It will help the growth of the drone manufacturing sector. “Better quality will enable Indian drone manufacturers to compete in the global market.”

“Drones are a new technology and rules for component testing are being prepared. My request is to keep the industry informed before finalizing any new set of rules for better compliance,” Upadhyay said.

The government has relaxed the norms for obtaining a remote pilot certificate, which is mandatory to operate a drone. Under the revised rules, anyone who has government-issued proof of identity and government-issued proof of address, such as a voter ID, ration card or driver’s license, can apply for a remote pilot certificate. .

Earlier, a passport was a mandatory criterion which was becoming a hurdle for aspiring drone pilots, especially in the agricultural sector in rural India. The relaxation of the rule is to promote and facilitate drone operations across the country and make India a global drone hub by 2030.

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