In India, the provision of food through flying drones may soon be a reality. In order to start research outside visual line of vision drones (BVLOS), the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given notice to food start-ups including Zomato , Swiggy and Dunzo.
According to the study, the spiceJet budgetary business, the Aviation Regulator’s approvals to evaluate the fly drone have included the reliance-backed drone startup Asteria Aerospace, Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo.
India announced last year plans to permit long-range experimental drone flights. In the first week of July the tests are expected to start. This is the first step in India towards developing local drone services.
By September 30th, this partnership will complete at least 100 flight hours in a specific airport approved by the Indian Airport Authority. You will send the files to the DGCA.
Among the consortia which have been approved by the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) for testing drone deliveries in India, Zomato, Swiggy, and Google-backed Dunzo are reportedly consortia. Around a decade ago, the regulator approved testing of drone flights outside the visual sight line (BVLOS). The new development could help to improve the country’s essential supplies. For some time companies such as Amazon tested orders via drones in the US. The next move is also intended to build additional weather surveillance capabilities to aid in emergency and military operations.
“It is probably the first time that any Indian regulatory body and the ministry has promoted the approach of deriving the technicalities of regulation by conducting detailed experiments. Regulators in countries such as the US are habitual of taking such an approach as they have been leading the development of regulation for such emerging technologies. This time India is getting in the league of front runners in creating an ecosystem for emerging technology,” Vipul Singh, co-founder and CEO, AUS -Aarav Unmanned Systems.
Besides being a key step in this development, indigenous technology companies are expected to develop, innovate and solve highly tech drones for various applications in India. This move is also a promising platform. It can also create the roadmap to reduce dependency on imported technology and to create indigenous intellectual property ( IP). At the same time it can create a new start-up ecosystem.
“Scaling up delivery operations based on technical maturity will ensure massive penetration of best quality essential commodities in the rural economy and locations in hilly areas in India which generally get deprived of timely availability of life saving and essential commodities,” added Singh.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted India’s food service sectors, and food delivery orders have declined by 70% over the past two months. Drone delivery can help to provide food products without contact. “Delivering food and other products through drones is a part of the future and that will make ‘no contact delivery’ a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent DGCA approval for trial run of drone delivery can be a boon for the struggling food delivery companies. It will help them in bringing cost effectiveness and reduce the issues such as food theft, hygiene issues, etc., due to the human intervention in the delivery system,” remarked N. Raja Sujith, Partner – Head South India, Majmudar and Partners.
However, it is also expected that the food supply by drones will face many challenges. Living with drones poses significant questions regarding protection and privacy infringement. In order to resolve the concerns and the protocol for the procurement of drones, DGCA would have to come up with a comprehensive rule.
The mission efficiency, operating and distribution costs and processes, as well as strategies for avoiding disruption and robbery, are likely to be questioned. There are challenges to drone robbery and damage in India. Drone height is always a concern, given that it has to be ensured safely that this package requires a kind of parachute or alternative mechanisms. Open deliveries are always cause for concern as the like of a helipad concept in a city increases the chance of robbery compared to deliveries at certain checkpoints.
Furthermore, drone damage caused by citizens is a matter of concern to start-ups as regards costs in a country such as India as well.
Drone tests are expected to begin in July and a consortium will have to fly in the specific airspace designated by the Indian Airport Agency (AAI) by the end of September for approximately 100 hours. Please inform the DGCA that your reports must be submitted.