BENGALURU: For the past few years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) or drones, as they are popularly called, have changed the way we take pictures or view certain landscapes. Offering endless possibilities to take videos or pictures from angles considered not possible for civilians just a decade back,
the use of drones is slowly becoming more popular with each passing day.
As a result, the government, which till recently frowned on civilian drones, is now re-looking at how they can be used for more than just wedding or tourist pictures. Starting next year, the drone business in India is slated to witness a boom with the government laying out clear guidelines for registration, permits and piloting of drones.
In anticipation of this change, a new and exciting career option is also presenting itself for those who wish to fly but cannot for various reasons. With drones being used extensively in sectors like infrastructure, mining, agriculture and solar energy, the need for commercial drone pilots, is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years, industry members say.
“There are currently an estimated five lakh illegal drones in India. Already, people with decent drone-flying capabilities for photography and video shooting exist. This is mainly for lower-end drones. The earning potential and need for drone pilots with more specialised skills is required at enterprise levels for activities like mapping/ surveying, high-end film shooting and others,” said Sai Pattabiram, founder and CEO of ZUPPA, an end-to-end drone manufacturer.
Speaking to CE, Pattabiram, whose company has carried out a mine mapping project covering around 50 sqkm said that his company was looking at a model where they would supply drones as a product and provide training to customers on how to use them.
To deal with this demand, companies like Skylark Drones are offering a two-week course in drone piloting for those interested in the same. “A normal day in the life of a pilot would include planning operations, ensuring safety and regulatory protocols and getting to know the locality that they are working in,” said Gokul Kumaravelu, Lead-Marketing for Skylark.
In the two weeks, the trainee, who can be from any educational background provided they have prior drone flying experience or are familiar with aerodynamics, will learn technical aspects on dealing with drones. The training will also help pilots deal with varying weather conditions, soft skills and talking to the general public. “Before we start on anything we drill down both the theoretical and practical aspects of adhering to government regulations,” Gokul said.
So far, around 20 pilots have been trained by Skylark, and according to the company, salaries are at par with undergraduates hired by main stream IT firms.