Cricket viewers set for stunning new experience as drones allowed entry

BCCI and M/s Quidich were given a conditional exemption by MoCA and DGCA to use drones for live aerial filming of the India cricket season

Cricket viewers set for stunning new experience as drones allowed entry
A view of an India vs Pakistan match underway at the Adelaide Oval during World Cup 2015. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Rajiv Bhuttan

Cricket coverage in India is set to become all the more attractive, and fans would get a bird's eye view of the matches. This looks possible after the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and India's aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) granting the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) conditional permission to use drones for live aerial cinematography of the India cricket season this year, according to reports. 

"MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) had received requests from BCCI and M/s Quidich pertaining to granting of request and other correspondences regarding permission to use Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for live aerial filming," a MoCA statement said on February 8.

The BCCI and Quidich were given conditional exemption from various provisions of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, according to an Economic Times report. The official statement added that the conditional exemption would be valid till December 31, 2021, from the date of issue of the letter or until the full operationalisation of the Digital Sky Platform (Phase-1), whichever is earlier. Drones flying in India have to be registered on the Digital Sky Platform. It helps the DGCA to regulate all drones in the micro category and above and those that fly above 50 feet. A drone lacking a digital permit to fly will not be allowed to take off.  

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The MoCA made it clear that the permission would be valid only if all the conditions and limitations are adhered to, and any violation would result in the exemption being deemed as null and void.

The MoCA and DGCA issued separate orders on February 4 granting the conditional exemptions for the use of drones for covering cricket matches. 

"The drone ecosystem is evolving rapidly in our country. Its utilisation is expanding from agriculture, mining, healthcare and disaster management to sports and entertainment," Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, MoCA, said.

"The granting of this permission is in line with the objectives of the government of India to promote the commercial use of drones in the country," he stated. Dubey added that the Drone Rules 2021 are in the final stages of discussion with the law ministry, and approvals were expected to be received by March 2021. 

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This is not the first time that the use of drones is being permitted by the DGCA for live aerial filming of cricket matches. Such permission was given for the coverage of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the past. 

Cricket coverage has been completely revolutionised since its earlier days. Today, there are cameras to capture the proceedings from almost every angle. Spider cameras (Spidercams), which are cable-suspended cameras that move vertically and horizontally over the playing field provide a view from the top. Moreover, cameras fitted to the stumps offer a unique viewing experience. Ball-tracking, hotspot, snickometer and other technological innovations have enriched the cricket-viewing experience enormously.

(Cover image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Rajiv Bhuttan)