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Mumbai Cops want to be in the loop about intra-city drone flights

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 8:00am IST | Agency: dna

Following the test-flight of a drone by a Lower Parel-based pizza outlet, Francesco's Pizzeria, the Mumbai police have decided to write to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to ensure that police are informed whenever they grant any permission for any such activity.

Speaking to dna, central region additional commissioner of police Madhukar Pandey said, "Any object, excluding kites, that flies in the air requires permission from the ATC. Drone is made of metal, is controlled by a remote and can go up to a height of nearly 200 feet in air."

The police are now ascertaining facts about the test-flight of the drone to deliver pizzas. "We will call the drone manufacturer and seek details about the drone. We will also make inquiries with the ATC to ascertain whether their permission was taken and, in this case, if the ATC's permission has not been taken, then we will take necessary action as it amounts to violation of rules," he said.

"Since such activity can also lead to security issues, we would be writing to the ATC that intra-city urban aerial movements should be done after taking police into confidence. If required, we would ask the ATC to ensure that police permission or a no-objection certificate is sought if they allow any such flight in future," Pandey said.

On May 11, Lower Parel-based Francesco's Pizzeria conducted a test-flight of the unmanned drone and delivered a pizza to a customer located 1.5 kilometres away from the outlet. The delivery was successful. However, the police were unaware of the test-flight and when they got to know about it, they expressed serious concerns.

A four-rotor drone took off with the order from its outlet in central Mumbai's Lower Parel area and delivered it on a terrace of a private high-rise residential building in adjacent Worli area, said an official of the outlet, claiming that it was for the first time that the ubiquitous drone had been used for such a purpose in the country.

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