The UAV sector holds tremendous opportunities and if unleashed, has the potential to transform many of the sectors and could contribute 4-5 % to India’s GDP, due to multiplier effect. UAV, commonly known as a drone, started off from being used for defence purposes and are now increasingly used in the civilian space. Developments in the fields of artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, miniaturisation, materials science, thermal imaging, etc. have enabled diverse civilian and commercial application of drones in sectors like agriculture, power, infrastructure, mining and telecom to undertake various activities with significant improvements in efficiency and cost. Since 2001, approximately 38 companies have applied for industrial license to manufacture UAVs in India. Furthermore, more than 50 start-ups have started providing services in this new industry. The global market is witnessing a boom despite several concerns relating to its potential use as a weapon, proprietary and privacy infringement. The future holds many new avenues for the use of UAVs as they are expected to replace 80% of operations presently carried out by manned aircraft. As per NITI Aayog estimates, the Indian market for UAV will be $50 billion over the next 15 years.
A full-fledged FICCI Committee on Drones (UAV/UAS/RPAS) has been formed. The Committee will play a proactive role as an advocate, catalyst and facilitator for the growth and capability building of Drone industry in India.