On 25th July, 2019 Survey of India released a tender for the procurement of 300 drones to scale and create a high-resolution National Topographic Database. This action has been undertaken as part of the National Map Policy of 2005. The pre-bid conference for this tender took place on 1st August, 2019.

The official document published by the Survey of India, highlights the bare minimum hardware and software requirements a drone must meet to be eligible. As these drones will be used to map the topography of the entire country, certain specifications are supposed to be strictly adhered to.

NPNT now a primary requirement

Drone suppliers will have to tune their UAVs to match the standards set by the Survey of India. This includes Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), Altitude cap, Speed cap, Mapping sensors, and many more technical standpoints. Apart from that, UAVs must encompass the NPNT (No Permission-No Takeoff) system, which was introduced on 1st December, 2018. Bidders will have to provide a certificate of NPNT compliance.

Ever since the introduction of drone laws in India, manufacturers had begun a race to create and get NPNT drones approved by the DGCA. Major drone giants like DJI, Parrot, and GoPro are yet to introduce NPNT variants of their existing drones. Reportedly, drones of only 4 Indian manufacturers have been approved for commercial sale. Considering the magnitude of the project and a large number of drones included, abiding by the NPNT policy might prove to be beneficial in the long run. NPNT will ensure efficient, regulated and only permissible use of these Professional Grade Survey drones.

Bidders will also have to submit a Unique Identification Number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircraft Operator’s Permit (UAOP) along with their Equipment Type Approval (ETA) certificate from the DGCA.

Professional Grade Survey Drones for India

With the procurement of 300 survey drones, this tender is set to become one of the largest tenders for drones in India. As the drone market continues to grow, the utility of UAVs in various sectors is also increasing exponentially. Several state governments are adopting drone technologies in industries like agriculture, mapping, and logistics. This tender would also mark the steady collaboration between private drone manufacturers and the Indian Government, paving the way for a mass change in the way industries operate.

For more details, refer to the following documents:

SOI Corrigendum of UAV

Clarification of UAV