Asteria Aerospace in collaboration with Quidich Innovation Labs completed India’s first NPNT (No-Permission-No-Takeoff) compliant drone flight near Tumkur city in Karnataka. Asteria was the first company to register its NPNT compliant A200 drone with the DGCA using the idroneport Management Server developed by Algopixel Technologies.

Currently, there are only 12 drone manufacturers that have registered their NPNT compliant drones with the DGCA (check out the list here). Since the launch of India’s drone laws in 2018, no drone has been flown under the NPNT compliance rule due to underdeveloped regulations and their infrastructure. However, the two companies have kick-started India’s drone race with the first NPNT compliant flight.

What is NPNT and why is it important?

The No-Permission-No-Takeoff (NPNT) rule is essential to every legal drone flight in India. It is the fundamental basis to the Digital Sky platform created by the DGCA. The rule mandates that a drone model should be certified by DGCA, should have a UIN, and UAOP and pilot training certificate (if required). Then You need to take approval for your flight plan through  Digital Sky and once it is approved, a  permission artifact (PA) is generated. Finally when you put the PA in the drone, it is ready to fly.

The NPNT compliance process, that is part of the CAR (Civil Aviation Requirements), has slowed the progress of the drone industry in India. This is mainly because of absent infrastructures such as defined operable flight zones, drone pilot training centers, long wait for obtaining UAOP, etc. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, this has started to change. The government launched the GARUD platform to facilitate drone tenders and more recently BVLoS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) trials of 13 consortia. A new drone regulation draft is also in the making. Thereby, with the rapidly increasing demand for drone services, acquiring NPNT compliance will not just become easier but also much faster and efficient.

India’s first NPNT compliant drone flight

The drone flight took place on 3rd July, 2020 near Tumkur city in Karnataka. This was the first time the complete end-to-end workflow of Digital Sky was used. The A200 micro drone bearing the UIN – U0000001 was used to complete the flight. Asteria Aerospace is a Bangalore-based startup aimed at providing drone based solutions. Asteria collaborated with Quidich Innovation Labs, a leading Sports Broadcast & Filming Solutions company in India.

A200 micro drone | first NPNT compliant drone flight
The first NPNT compliant A200 by Asteria Aerospace.

Neel Mehta, co-founder and director of Asteria said, “This milestone sets the stage for seamless, compliant drone operations throughout the country. However, more green zones have to be notified by the MCA for the country to harness the full potential of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs),”

Asteria Aerospace and three other drone manufacturers used the idroneport Management Server developed by Algopixel Technologies to complete the NPNT drone registration. The third-party management server comes with a desktop application to assist in the generation of a key pair and signing of data using a DSC Token. The iDronePort solution allows the developers to switch to Testbed mode which allows the developers to simulate the complete registration flow during the development process. Read more about it here.