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Cleared for Take-Off: India Ready for the Drone Revolution, Pilots New Open Source Guide for Governments

  • Andhra Pradesh will be the first state in India to pilot the newly launched Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit – a user-manual for governments wanting to scale drone delivery
  • 10 Civil Aviation Authorities from five continents, eight international governmental organizations and 23 private companies contributed to its development
  • It highlights the real-world success of projects from Switzerland, Rwanda, and Malawi
  • For more information on our Annual Meeting, please visit www.weforum.org.

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 25 January 2019 – India will be the next destination for the drone revolution as the state Andhra Pradesh gears up to pilot the Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit.

The State Government of Andhra Pradesh announced at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Summit 2019 that it will start testing the policy frameworks developed in the newly released Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit to enable state-wide drone delivery operations.

“Andhra Pradesh is proud to be the first government partner to implement the Advanced Drone Operations Toolkit,” said Lokesh Nara, Minister for Information Technology and Rural Development in Andhra Pradesh. “We look forward to leveraging the insights from the toolkit to implement a drone delivery program that will bring key medical supplies to communities across our State.”

The open source guide from the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, was also launched at the Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos. It was developed after extensive collaboration with the governments of Rwanda, the government of Switzerland and leveraging the work of the Drone Innovator’s Network (DIN). It is the first user manual for governments looking to roll out socially impactful, advanced drone operations.

This open source collection of lessons-learned was designed to help governments overcome the hurdles of implementing drone regulations and accelerate access to airspace, while maintaining safety and security. It also includes specific steps for governments, interested in implementing similar programmes, to consider.

“Safe, clean, inclusive and scaled drone use has become the goal of many nations,” said Harrison Wolf, report author and project lead at the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Now, governments can learn from the real-world success of world leading drone delivery projects in Africa and Europe to develop their own national oversight. Through comparative analysis of shared lessons, learned by governments and private players, this toolkit means governments don’t have to start from scratch and can begin societally important, socially responsible operations. We are really looking forward for the initializing of the pilot project in India.”

“I am very proud that Switzerland and my authority are part of the Advanced Drone Operations Toolkit,” said Christian Hegner, Director General of Director General of Civil Aviation, Switzerland. In 2020, the Swiss FOCA will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) authorization. We learnt a lot during these past years. Sharing our expertise and learning from other countries will help accelerating and scaling safe drone operations worldwide.”

“For over two years, Zipline has been the world’s largest provider of drone delivery services, and we were happy to contribute our experience to the development of the Advanced Drone Operations Toolkit,” said Will Hetzler, Co-Founder, Zipline.  “This is an important resource that will help governments to enable lifesaving operations like drone delivery of health products. We are excited to continue working with the Forum through the Drone Innovators Network to realize this technology’s transformational potential for the world.”

“We are honored to be a founding member of the Drone Innovators Network and a contributor to the Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit,” said Ben Marcus, Co-founder and Chairman at AirMap. “AirMap is actively partnering with regulators, airspace managers, and solutions providers to enable safe and accountable drone operations around the world. Our work in Switzerland provides an excellent example of what is possible today and shows a clear path for other governments to embrace similar programs.”

The stories and information were captured first-hand by the World Economic Forum. The Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace team spoke directly with policy-makers, entrepreneurs, regulators and technical experts who have fundamentally shifted the dialogue from what “may” be possible to what “is” possible, in a very short time. Insights and recommendations from the most successful projects outline what it takes to launch and oversee advanced drone operations.

New airspace regulations

It also introduces governments all over the world to a new approach to oversight created by the World Economic Forum Drone and Tomorrow’s Airspace community, the Performance Based Regulations (PBR). Using PBR, airspace can be accessed by any unmanned aircraft on a mission-specific basis: the government specifies the safety standard of the mission, and the drone operators specify how they are going to meet it. This regulation is agile. It cuts the time to access airspace and expands the range of possible applications while enabling the government to keep up with the rapid development of technology.

Rwanda’s implementation of PBR for all category of unmanned aircraft led directly to an increase in operations for its drone ecosystem, promoted expansion of domestic industry participants and will support the planned establishment of the upcoming drone operations decanter (DOC) activities.

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