India’s drone journey which began more than two decades ago, deploys one of the largest fleets of military drones in the world; however, its journey in the civilian and commercial arena has only just begun.
To build new Smart Cities / Villages in India, the deployment of Drone Technology is crucial.
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The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) sector in India is beginning to look up with a number of service providers, startups engaged in innovative design and development. There are over a dozen UAV companies that have found their niche in this sector and are engaged in military, civil and commercial sectors.
Drones & Mission Smart Cities
India with its smart cities program spread across its diverse landscape provides an ideal laboratory for the deployment of UAVs and related technologies. India, in keeping with the global trend of transforming existing cities into smart cities, has identified nearly 100 such cities for transformation. The smart city initiative launched by the Modi Government in 2014 is expected to find new vigor which will provide a much-needed boost to the UAV industry.
According to CISCO, smart cities are those cities that use digital technology to connect, protect and enhance the lives of the citizens. The UN has estimated that by the year 2050, 68% of the world population will be living in urban areas. In such a scenario drones become an ever-increasing important piece of puzzle for ushering in efficiencies in the management of the urban environment.
UAVs become effective tools only when they are available at the grass root levels of every arm of government and civil society, and operate within a set of well-defined rules and regulations. With the recent advances in cloud computing, AI, wireless sensors, networked unmanned systems, big data, and Internet of Things, billions of devices are being connected together, providing a substantial opportunity for UAVs in smart cities program.
The use of UAVs in geo-spatial surveying and geographical information systems is revolutionizing the way smart cities operate by bringing down cost for such operations. A land survey which takes weeks and months while done manually by a surveyor can now be done in less than an hour.
UAVs can relay accurate and real time information which plays an important role in the civil security of cities. They may provides information to the civic administration to deploy proactive measures rather than reactive ones. Such a decision-making process is a hallmark of a smart city concept.
Drone technology today has matured to the point where it does not take an engineer or a technician to operate. Even a normal high school graduate can be trained to operate it very effectively. A good quality UAV system is fully autonomous, meaning it can take off, conduct the mission and land back in base all by itself. Such autonomous UAVs are now being used by law enforcement agencies for smart policing activities. Integration of UAVs with mobile applications, forensic software, secure and reliable wireless networks can help smart cities become a safe place.
If India has to build new or convert its existing cities into smart cities, then the deployment of UAVs becomes crucial. UAVs are able to quickly collect highly accurate data, and aggregate, analyze and deliver them for the planner with the help of latest software. UAVs are used from asset management to programming the most efficient delivery routes.
Drones & Smart Villages
Smart villages practicing ‘precision agriculture’ are now synonymous with the use of drones. Drones are being used for crop spraying, dusting, monitoring, as well as crop insurance. Terra Drone India said it has completed the aerial survey of 4,200sq.km. of agricultural land for water resources department of the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corp (MKVDC). The survey helped government officials get a clear picture of the crops sown and the type of irrigation used, allowing MKVDC to update its archaic maps in half the time of traditional surveying methods.
Drones used for crop surveillance can drastically increase farm crop yields while minimizing the cost of labour in walking the fields. It also allows insurance claims companies to calculate the exact damage to crops or the extent of loss by viewing the same in details.
Drones help in doing crop health imaging, wherein the colour contrast technology helps one to check the true health of crops. With images and videos, one can see exactly what parts of a field are struggling with plant disease, insects or the lack of water.