Drones are a new and evolving technology which today is used in a very small percentage of business around the world for delivery purposes and is yet in developing stage.
Even though the drones are very lightweight, fuel-efficient and quicker, they still have their limitations and challenges which are needed to be faced with innovation, planning and technological advancements.In order to make drones available for civil and commercial purposes, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has earmarked 7 companies who had applied for drone-based delivery.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has selected seven firms, out of 34 applicants, which applied for long-range, or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone experiments. It has rejected 27 applications mainly on the grounds of incomplete information.
The chosen companies include food and delivery companies like Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo, medical delivery providers Zipline and Redwings, and large enterprises including Tata Advanced Systems and Honeywell. The civil aviation authority has asked these firms to submit further technical details.
The company selection process has been delayed by a few months. As per the original plan, the civil authority, which had set deadline in July for participant interest, wanted to be done with approvals by August.
Due to the unavailability of members of the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) committee the problem had risen. Meanwhile, another sub-committee has been formed to expedite the process. The companies selected for the experiments hope that by January they would be able to fly drones in a few locations.
While the world might have already had its first public drone delivery a few months ago, India is still taking its first step towards the advancement.
Zomato had conducted a drone delivery test using a hybrid drone, with a fusion of rotary-wing and fixed wings on a single drone, in June. The drone tested by the company successfully and flawlessly was able to cover a distance of 5 km, in about 10 minutes, with a top speed of 80 kmph while carrying a payload of 5 kgs.
Recently, in December 2018, the government legalised flying drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). For the same, the government initiated an online portal called ‘Digital Sky’ for drone registration. The government also designed a new drone policy for regulations. This policy has given five different categories.
Startups such as Zipline and Redwings have collaborated with the state governments of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra alongside other technical partners, for the delivery of medicines, vaccines and blood packets in emergency situations through drones.
According to market intelligence firm BIS Research, India’s drone market is expected to be valued at $885.7 million by 2021, while the global opportunity is estimated to touch $21.47 billion during this period.