India’s Garuda Aerospace Poised to Surge in the Global Drone Market

DJI remains the world’s number one drone brand – and for good reason.  The China-based company still makes the most technologically sophisticated UAVs, with applications across a wide range of commercial niches, from precision agriculture to fire-fighting.  But some companies are beginning to encroach upon DJI’s historic dominance of the camera drone market.  One example is India’s Garuda Aerospace, which recently unveiled its “Droni” mini-drone, a high-performance but compact and foldable quadcopter that weighs less than 250 grams and can easily be sold and flown worldwide, without, in most cases, the need for user registration.  Garuda already accounts for 25% of the Indian drone market, but with its latest cutting-edge UAV, the company will likely capture an even greater share in 2024 and beyond.

The name “Droni” is a wordplay on the name of M.S. Dhoni, India and the world’s leading cricket player.  Dhono publicly endorsed Garuda and its latest offering in 2023, and with $250 million in new funding, the company has been able to produce and market the Dhoni ahead of schedule.  It’s currently available on Amazon and Dhoni’s own social media website for an introductory and highly competitive price of 85,000 rupees (or roughly $1,000, reduced from $1,700).  Chennai Super Kings, the cricket team for which Dhoni plays and stars, is also offering the new drone for the same low introductory price.

The Droni has some impressive features, including a 48 megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens and optical flow positioning.  The aircraft can also fly for an  impressive 60 minutes – longer than nearly all of the camera drone competition.  It means users can film continuously without having to recharge, protecting the integrity of their projects without undue interruption.  Despite being feature-rich, the drone is easy to launch and deploy.

Garuda already enjoys steady financial support from ten institutional investors, a level of backing that will ensure future prototype development for years to come. Two other Garuda flagships are the Cerana X8 and the Cerana ONE Pro.  The heavier X8 (24 kg) is equipped with EO/IR cameras, LiDAR, and compartments and winches for retail package delivery while the craft hovers.  The lighter ONE Pro (7 kg) is geared more to infrastructure management, including inspection and security.  The two aircraft can fly continuously on a single charge for roughly 42-45 minutes.

Garuda also offers a fixed wing drone, the V220, for long-range autonomous aerial operations.  The drone, despite flying forward, has the operational flexibility to take off and land in tight spaces without a runway.  It can cruise at high altitude for superior aerial mapping but switch to low altitudes to capture high quality details.   for your mapping or surveillance needs. In addition to providing surveillance, it can transport lightweight items across hundreds of kilometers without the need for visual line of sight piloting.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, the founder of Garuda, received the Global Humanitarian Award from the UK-based organization World Humanitarian Drive (WHD) for the company’s work during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Garuda drones also gained acclaim for supporting rescue operations after an avalanche in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli District in 2021 and for contributing to relief efforts after last February’s earthquake in Turkey.

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