‘Bloody’ Drone Crash on Delhi Metro Track Highlights Safety Issues And What Companies Must Keep in Mind
Adelivery drone carrying a box containing blood vials crashed onto the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro on December 25. This incident not only interrupted the metro service for an hour and caused panic, but also raised questions about the safety of using drones more frequently in the coming years.
After revolutionising warfare, it is believed that drones have the potential to revolutionise civil aviation. Additionally, drone companies and other businesses which use drones see profitable possibilities for drones in the fields of agriculture, logistics, and healthcare.
Here it should be noted that in October when 5G was launched in India, experts claimed that this technology-enabled drone ecosystem will open up new doors of opportunities in many areas such as disaster management, rescue and relief operations, forest fire management, and conservation, among others. It was also said that this would also help in better surveillance, live monitoring, and real-time updates.
In terms of the recent case of a drone crash, the unmanned aerial vehicle fell on the line near the Jasola Vihar/Shaheen Bagh station at around 2.45 pm. Even though this incident didn’t cause any physical harm to anyone, the metro service on the Magenta Line was halted for almost an hour.
Police stated that that drone belonged to an unnamed private pharma company based in Noida and has required papers, as well as licences for the drones as it uses them to supply medicines or carry samples at times.
But the issue is that if crashes like this continue to happen, the usage of drones may raise concerns among people, the same way fire incidents involving electric vehicles triggered worries among many individuals.
THE FOCUS POINTS
This is not the first time when a drone has crashed, as a few years ago The Washington Post highlighted that in the US, according to accident investigation reports and other records, military drones have malfunctioned in a variety of ways since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plummeting from the sky due to mechanical breakdowns, human error, bad weather, and other factors.
In the case of India, drones have recently started to get popularity, mostly after the government announced the PLI scheme for drones and drone components as a part of the Centre’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Additionally, the liberalised Drone Rules 2021 were released to create a growth-oriented regularity framework for drones, with the goal of making India a global hub for research and development, testing, manufacturing, as well as operation of drones. All these steps were taken to boost the indigenous drone industry.
But there are some issues related to the fundamental safety of these unmanned aerial vehicles. These include a restricted ability to detect and avoid danger, as it is believed that drone cameras and high-tech sensors cannot fully replace a pilot’s eyes, ears, and nose in the cockpit.
In the US, the Post’s investigative report mentioned another point, which is about communication issues. It was said that drones rely on wireless transmissions to relay commands and navigational information. So, it was found that in more than a quarter of the worst drone crashes, links were either disrupted or lost.
Citing the recent drone crash case in Delhi, Vishal Saurav, CEO and founder of VFLYX India, said that there could be a variety of reasons for such an incident, like equipment failure, operator error, or external factors such as adverse weather conditions or interference from other devices. So he believes that it is important to carefully investigate and identify the root cause of any incident to determine how to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
According to Saurav, there are some measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of such delivery drone incidents in India. These are:
- Proper maintenance and inspection of equipment: Ensuring that drones are in good working condition and regularly inspected can help prevent equipment failure and other issues.
- Adhering to safety regulations and guidelines: Following safety guidelines and regulations can help prevent incidents caused by operator error or other human factors.
- Implementing safety protocols: Establishing protocols for operating drones, such as maintaining a safe distance from people and objects, can help prevent incidents.
- Using technology to improve safety: There are a number of technologies, such as GPS and collision avoidance systems, that can help improve the safety of drone operations.
- Ensuring operator competence: Ensuring that operators are properly trained and have the necessary skills to safely operate drones can also help prevent incidents.
- Overall, it is important to adopt a multi-faceted approach to improving drone safety and to continuously review and update safety measures as needed.