NEW DELHI: Restaurant, medicine and grocery delivery aggregators, including Swiggy and Dunzo, will soon be able to deliver through drones during the pandemic. Test runs in controlled environments have already started.
The government has allowed 20 entities, including Swiggy, Dunzo and SpiceJet, to carry out experimental flights of drones “beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS)”. Once this protocol is established after successful experimental flights, drones could be used for various purposes like delivering Covid jabs, medicines and meals, while ensuring safety and security issues.
“This could be a hub-and-spoke model that will help cut down delivery times drastically,” said a senior executive at a food delivery company. “For instance, if the route is long, drones could be used to ferry the medicines or food to a central location from where delivery executives can collect them.”
Last-mile delivery through drones is difficult in India because rooftops do not have clear landing zones and are often obstructed with power lines, he added.
“The drone ecosystem has quickly established itself as a fundamental component of industry 4.0, having been successfully adopted in a vast spectrum of sectors such as medicine, logistics, defence, entertainment, film production & heavy industry,” said Arjun Aggarwal, MD, Arc Ventures, one of India’s leading investors in the drone space.
India is preparing for drones operations “beyond line of sight” – which basically means flying them over a distance where the operator can’t see this “remotely piloted aircraft (RPA)” during the flight while piloting it to the destination and back.