Aamir Khan’s ‘3 Idiots’ is arguably the most successful Hindi movie at the box office. Along with its actors, the film brought inadvertent fame to IITian Ankit Mehta, too. Khan flew a drone in the movie designed by Mehta and his friends, thus raising awareness about the flying devices.
Mehta manufactures drones and his firm ideaForge is among a handful of companies licensed by the central government. In the last five years, Mehta has supplied 150 drones to government agencies, including the police and paramilitary forces, but none to a private user. Proposed regulations will help open up the market for commercial use of drones, says Mehta.
Drones are used in India for commercial photography, film shoots, and surveys of land and industrial facilities. Coal India plans to use them for aerial survey of coal blocks and has secured an approval from the government. Insurance companies are using drones to film farms and ascertain crop yields.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued draft regulations for ownership and operations of drones. In a public notice in October 2014, the DGCA said no non-government agency, organisation or individual could launch an unmanned aerial vehicle till it issued regulations.