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India Gears up for Drone Revolution, Andhra to Pilot New Open Source Guide for Governments

In a major step towards drone revolution in India, Andhra Pradesh became the country’s first state to pilot the newly launched Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit, an open source guide for governments wanting to scale drone delivery. The state government announced at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Summit 2019 that it will start testing the policy frameworks developed in the new 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,” the state’s Minister for Information Technology and Rural Development Lokesh Nara said. “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,” he added. The open source guide from the World Economic Forum (WEF), which describes itself as an international organization for public-private cooperation, was launched at its Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos. It has been developed after extensive collaboration with the governments of Rwanda and Switzerland and leveraging the work of the Drone Innovators 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 is 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 programs, 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 WEF’s Center 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. “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,” he added. The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network brings together governments, leading companies, civil society and experts from around the world to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to the policy and governance of technology. – Business Standard