Drones with QR code

China’s model for drones regulation can also be adopted in which every drone is assigned a unique QR code which must be pasted on the drone before flying. 

Drones with QR code

DRONES remained in mainstream discourse for quite a long time in Pakistan due to drone attacks but that was a dark age and a war-like situation. Discourse of drones has changed over time and with development of drone technology globally small and mobile operated drones are becoming increasingly popular and are used in different development projects.

Sarcastically drones also got popularity due to their appearance in wedding video-graphy and political gatherings.

Moreover, drones are used widely for security, law enforcement, disaster management, geographic mapping, agriculture, wildlife monitoring and much more.

Owing to the growing importance of drone technology, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered to formulate first ever drone policy in Pakistan. He also ordered to setup a Committee to devise a regulatory and legislative proposal on drone technology and draft a policy within a month.

This will be the first ever policy for drones technology in Pakistan after special efforts made by Federal Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry. Formulation of policy and implementation could bring positive impact in local drone manufacturers.

Similarly, it will increase the use of drones in different industries to improve productivity. Drone enthusiasts are excited and waiting to see drones friendly policy to boost this industry locally.

Special efforts made by Fawad Chaudhry in the Ministry of Science and Technology are incredible and must be appreciated. He is taking keen interest in development of the technology sector in Pakistan and bringing innovative solutions for development challenges.

He always insisted on adopting technology for solving real life challenges we are facing today in Pakistan. Such as during a crisis situation of locust attack in Pakistan Fawad Chaudhry took initiative to introduce Pakistan-made drones to fight locust attack.

Similarly, use of technology for moon sighting got hype when Fawad Chaudhry criticised Ruet-e-Hilal Committee for using traditional ways for moon sighting and launched the first moon-sighting app.

Moreover, he also started heating debate related to Electric Vehicles (EV) and made EV’s manufacturing top priority. He brought life to an amblyopic ministry with his efforts to bring tech revolution in Pakistan.

Many countries around the world already formulated their drone policy and encouraged their engineers to develop the latest drones technology. We cannot only learn from their drones policy and strategy but can also learn how they are using drones in solving various development challenges.

Pakistan is highly relying on agriculture and is considered as the backbone of Pakistan’s economy while directly supporting the country’s population and accounts for 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Use of drones in agriculture sector alone can boost production and increase contribution to Pakistan’s economy.

In supporting precision farming, drones can do soil health scans, monitor crop health, assist in planning irrigation schedules, apply fertilizers, estimate yield data and provide valuable data for weather analysis.

Furthermore, drones are used for security and surveillance purposes and to control law and order situation in many countries including the United States, China, India, Germany and UK. Similarly, the security situation has remained a great concern in the past few years and drones can create high impact in controlling security issues in future. Here in Pakistan we still lack use of technology for security, surveillance and controlling law and order.

For instance, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 19 June 2013 that the FBI owns and uses UAVs for the purposes of “surveillance”.

Considering the drone capabilities, different drones are capable of traveling varying heights and distances. Very close-range drones usually have the ability to travel up to three miles and are mostly used by hobbyists.

Close-range UAVs have a range of around 30 miles. Short-range drones travel up to 90 miles and are used primarily for espionage and intelligence gathering.

Mid-range UAVs have a 400-mile distance range and could be used for intelligence gathering, scientific studies and meteorological research. The longest-range drones are called “endurance” UAVs and have the ability to go beyond the 400-mile range and up to 3,000 feet in the air. Above mentioned capabilities of drones must be considered while formulating drone policy and strategy.

Based on flying capacity and diverse uses of drones, drones can be categorized into four different types such as recreational flyers, certificated remote pilots including commercial operators, public safety and government users and lastly for educational purposes. Drones should be monitored and operated under Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority by giving registration numbers to every single drone.

Drones registration can help in regulating flying of drones for security and commercial purposes which will help in controlling drones in no-fly zones or many other sensitive areas. Registration of drones will be a major prerequisite for controlling and regulating drones flying in the country.

For drones registration basic information such as owner’s name, valid ID number (such as ID or passport number), mobile phone and email address, product model number, serial number, purpose of use must be registered before giving permission for drones operation in any area.

China’s model for drones regulation can also be adopted in which every drone is assigned a unique QR code which must be pasted on the drone before flying.

This QR code may contain all the information mentioned above which is used for registering a drone. QR code will work as a registration number for that specific drone and can be scanned by any security or drone regulatory authority at any time of flying.

Similarly, any drone weighing 7 kilograms to 116 kilograms must require a registration number. Furthermore, all drones flown for commercial use must get a registration number or licence to operate in any sector.

From my personal experience, a friend bought a drone and was quite excited to fly within university premises in Beijing. But soon after his flight of a few meters, security personnel appeared and forced him to take down his drone as he was just testing flight without licence or permission from the local police station.

Similar high level measures must be considered while discussing policy for the drones flying. Last but not the least, policy makers must give special benefits to local drone manufacturers in Pakistan so that the local drones industry can boost.

Although China is exporting its drone technology to many countries and will also bring them to Pakistan, but to help the local tech industry it is important to make comparatively easier policies for local drones. Fingers crossed and looking forward to a drones friendly policy from legislatures.

Originally published at Pakistan observer