Drone highways are almost here


They’re being readied at the second campus of the IISc in Challakere, 230 km from Bengaluru

Drone highways in the sky are not a futuristic fantasy anymore. They’re being readied at the second campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Challakere, Chitradurga district, 230 km from Bengaluru.

The highways will be exclusive corridors for testing and flying both military and commercial drones.

Around 1373 acres of land for this corridor has been earmarked and it will have drone ports too.

“A massive drone corridor will be coming up in about 1373 acres of land at the campus where testing and flying of both military and commercial drones would be carried out in the future. Equipped with drone ports and air corridor systems, autonomous flying machines of all sizes including combat ones will be tested here,” Raejus Job a DGCA- NTRO, Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems instructor told Bangalore Mirror.

He added that the agencies involved in the Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems project have applied for the Green Zone Clearance from the Ministries of Defence and Civil Aviation.

“The Green Zone clearance may be given by the authorities concerned during the Aero India 2021,” he added.

According to India’s drone regulations the air space has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace) and Green Zone (automatic permission).

In other words, flying in Green Zones will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the Digital Sky portal or the App.

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“The Research and Development for the autonomous projects has already been completed and the technology has also been created. We need clearance from the DGCA, Civil Aviation and Defence Ministers to test these systems in these proposed drone corridors,” said Prof Bharadwaj Amrutur, research head and director AI and Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK).

ARTPARK is a joint initiative of IISc and AI Foundry and it was formed recently for promoting innovation in AI and Robotics in the country.

Further explaining the drone corridor, Amrutur said that these corridors would be highways in the skies for all autonomous drones, like highways for vehicles on the ground.

“For these autonomous drones the approach is different. On the ground, people are driving their vehicles themselves but here somebody is operating these drones from different places so we have to ensure that they do not interlock with each other and move around safely,” Amrutur said.

The IISc campus in Challakere has been set up on 1500 acres of land. Next to the campus DRDO, BARC and ISRO also have their facilities.



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Sagar Biswas

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