Charting the next phase of flight for drone tech in India

Experts from the drone ecosystem came together at TechSparks 2023 in New Delhi to explore the far-reaching impact of this technology in India, and dived into the policy landscape governing its future in the country.

Charting the next phase of flight for drone tech in India

Wednesday December 20, 2023,

2 min Read

With the Indian government focused on developing the drone ecosystem in India, the aim is to turn the country into a global drone hub by 2030.

Experts from this ecosystem came together at TechSparks 2023 in New Delhi to explore the far-reaching impact of drone technology in India and dive into the policy landscape governing the future of drone tech in the country.

At the beginning of the discussion, they highlighted the various ways drones are being used in India—even beyond the obvious use cases in agritech and defense.

“We are seeing drones being used actively to explore underground mines, forest areas, create drone shows for entertainment, and a lot more,” said Ankit Mehta, CEO, ideaForge Technology.

Smit Shah, President, of the Drone Federation of India, added, “There are over 160 applications of drones in India. Mapping of video data is happening faster than ever before as drones increasingly fly around various objects, and this is changing the way we look at real-time data and make decisions.”

Mehta and Shah also discussed the various regulatory changes that have made these use cases possible.

The duo traced the journey of drone tech in India, starting from 2014—when drones were banned to a 2018 policy that was not comprehensive and finally arriving at the current policy that has liberalised the adoption of the technology.

“Earlier, drones were a security concern. Now they are an opportunity. We want to design hardware and software IPs for drones in India, and export it to the global market,” said Shah.

He added that individuals need no approvals and permissions to create a drone prototype, and that financial incentives for local manufacturing work in tandem with the current ban on the import of foreign drones.

Industry leaders like ideaForge, which have multiple government contracts and applications across sectors, is an example of a startup that has benefited from this liberalisation.

It is the only drone tech company in India that is listed on the public markets, after its IPO in June 2023.

“For India to become a world leader in drone tech by 2023, business like ours need to be prepared for that opportunity. We needed capital to make bolder bets, and the IPO is helping us unlock ways to build the next generation of systems for this industry,” said Mehta.


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti