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India’s DGAC takes first steps to urban air mobility with request for industry BVLOS partners

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has invited Express of Interest (EOI) from consortia of experts for conducting experimental beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in India, leading to the submission of proof of concept (POC) for safe BVLOS operations.

Interested organisations can submit a detailed proposal to Hillol Biswas, director (Aircraft Engineering), Office of Director General of Civil Aviation. As per the note from G.Rajasekar, Joint DGCA, the experimental BVLOS operation followed by submission of POC must be completed before DGCA issues any regulations for BVLOS operations in the country.

The note also states that the objective of proposed experimental BVLOS operations must be to conduct experimental BVLOS operations of RPA systems in controlled conditions within identified and segregated low Indian territorial airspace for a period of at least two months.  The scope of experiments includes BVLOS RPAS operation, UAS traffic management (UTM) system deployment, supplementary services for UTM (3D maps, weather data, surveillance and telemetry data of manned and unmanned aircraft, population, data etc.).

“If the experiments are successful, it can pave the way for air taxis, air deliveries etc. in India.,” says the DGAC. “It may be noted that Uber claimed last year that its air taxi can cut travel time in a congested city like Mumbai by 90 per cent. It had named Dallas and Los Angeles in the US as the first two cities for the commercial launch of its aerial taxi service by 2023 and has been on the lookout to select an international city as its third partner. The company has shortlisted five countries – India, Japan, Australia, Brazil and France – and one of them will become the first Uber Air City outside of the US.”

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