Zomato, Swiggy get permitted to test drone delivery

DGCA has reportedly given an approval to all the online food delivery giants to start testing drones for aerial deliveries in India.

Soon you can expect a drone delivering your food at your doorstep. The invention that seemed to be a fairy tale back in times will now become reality in the coming times as Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted food delivery giants like Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo to start testing Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones for deliveries in India. This development will definitely help in enhancing the delivery services. This technology is already no new buzz in countries like USA where Amazon has been practicing drone deliveries since a long time now.

“We have been working on powering deliveries via drones from some time now and welcome this move from DGCA to test our systems. We are excited to build the future of aerial food delivery in India,” said a Zomato spokesperson to the media.

Reports have confirmed that there are 13 companies that have been given approval to test fly drones from the aviation regulator and Spice-Jet, Reliance backed drone start-up Asteria Aerospace, Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo are among them. Back in 2018, Zomato acquired a Lucknow based start up TechEagle to enable food deliveries via drones. The Gurugram based company also tested its drone technology last year using a hybrid drone that carried a payload of 5 kgs. It is a part of ClearSky Flight Company that is one of the 13 companies getting approval from DGCA. Further, Neel Mehta, the co-founder of Asteria Aerospace stated that: “It’s an experimental project, essentially a regulatory sandbox where DGCA wants companies to test fly drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) and determine, what are the safety measures required when the regulations actually comes into action. It’s not we can start fully fledged operations. ” He also shared that they received the approval letter on May 21st and they will carry out the experiments for two months in the provided airspace of 20Kms, which is isolated from urban areas and safe from any risks. They also shared that they will be using it for surveillance of pipelines, railways and roadways.

The DGCA has already started sending out these permission letters to the companies and also allotting them the airspace to carry out these tests. This will be India’s first step to develop in house drone based services. Moreover, these companies will need to complete 100 hours of flights in the allotted airspace provided by Airport Authority of India by September 30 and submit the reports to the DGCA.

In 2016, the government announced a new draft policy which proposed to set up a dedicated drone corridor, create drone ports and allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector. At that time, this policy also hinted in making room for aerial good delivery a possibility for India in coming years. Well, currently we can definitely make out that the policy that was proposed back in time is now actually being put into action by the authorities.

“Once the companies complete their flight hours and submit their reports then we can further move on to the requirements of the specification,” said by the Government official. India is all set and looking at these experiments as a way of fast tracking its policy and preparing local industry for a major push into the drone services so as to be able to be recognized globally. The COVID-19 pandemic has further pushed the plans of drone services to a delay which are now taking pace to be tried and tested as soon as possible.

As a matter of fact the development of drones is cheap as compared to other aviation services and they actually put the value into services rather than investing huge amount in their hardware. As stated by a government official, drones do not require the country to invest billions of dollars in its research and development as it requires in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computers. India’s eligibility in software and geospatial services enables it to be competent in becoming the drone services provider very soon.

As we all know that within the short span of 3 to 4 years the online market in our country is growing exponentially. With this sudden and steep growth comes the responsibility to be able to provide the best available services to the consumers. And being monotonous in the field will never acquire the attention of public and soon the business will face steadiness in growth.

The delivery giants in our country like Zomato have been contributing sufficient time in making the drone deliveries an actual reality for the public. They have carried out several trials since last few years and have also succeeded in their agenda. They aim at providing food to their customers within 15 minutes of ordering and they have claimed it to be possible by aerial delivery systems. These milestones have been achieved by these companies and now they have been able to gain the government’s attention in actually making the dreams into reality by constant efforts to uplift and modernize the country with available technologies.

You can soon expect a drone carrying your delivery items at your doorsteps within minutes of ordering it. During the times of such crisis that the world is going through the contactless deliveries will be of great help in avoiding the spread of the virus and it actually exemplifies the humans becoming adaptive of the changes and surviving in the changing times. If the drone deliveries get a nod to be practiced in the country, it will definitely be a game-changer for lot of businesses and industries in India. Let’s hope that the development actually becomes a life saviour in the coming times.

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