Bengaluru lab to test, certify civilian drones


Team Udayavani, Feb 11, 2021, 8:36 AM IST

Bengaluru: India UL, the global safety science leader, announced on Wednesday the launch of its testing and certification services for civilian drone use. The services help manufacturers, importers and assemblers to meet technical standards published and made mandatory by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Civil Aviation for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

The introduction of these standards aims to create a safer drone ecosystem in India, helping ensure secure access to the Indian airspace for millions of drones.

The new testing and certification services were introduced after the Quality Council of India granted provisional approval to UL as a certification body under its Certification Scheme for RPAS – Provisional Approval System for Certification Bodies. The DGCA authorizes the Quality Council of India to provide provisional approvals to certification bodies. With the provisional approval, UL’s Bengaluru laboratory can now test for requirements specified by the DGCA, such as technical, flight management, and No Permission – No Takeoff criteria, under which operators need prior permission to fly from the Digital Sky Platform. This year, UL is moving forward to convert the provisional approval to final accreditation per ISO/IEC 17065:2012 Standard.

All domestic manufacturers, importers and assemblers of Civil RPAS must get their products tested and certified by Certification Bodies. Upon successfully meeting the requirements, a Certification Body will issue a certificate of compliance to the manufacturer, importer or assembler on behalf of DGCA. The certification scheme applies to four drone categories: nano (total weight of 250 grams including payload), micro (250 grams to 2 kilograms), small (2 kg to 25 kg) and medium (25 kg to 150 kg). The DGCA plans to allow civilian drones for various applications, including agriculture, disaster management, healthcare, logistics, and public safety.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Suresh Sugavanam, Vice President and Managing Director of South Asia, UL, said, “Drone regulation is vital to help ensure the safety of people and products. With safety mechanisms in place, drones have the power to transform sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and logistics as new use cases emerge every day. With our understanding of global regulatory mechanisms and leveraging our experience in developing UL Standards and certification of drones, we will work closely with key stakeholders across the drone value chain providing necessary guidance for bringing local products to the market.”

Sharing his insights, Mr. Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said, “We understand that several domestic manufacturers are looking to introduce their drones for a wide variety of applications. The drone regulation will empower them to become self-reliant as envisioned under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative. We are confident that the compliance framework developed by DGCA will catalyze increased localization of parts and lead the manufacturers on to a path of self-reliance and global competitiveness.”

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