India’s government has put together its Drone Regulations 2.0 policy. This policy is geared towards private sector businesses. Drones will be used as taxis or delivery vehicles, and the latest policy approves their use starting in March 2019. For a country like India, which is still in the nascent phase of drone technology, food delivery via drones might not be the best application of drone technology. However, it can surely have a big impact on a large population of users.
Zomato India Pvt. Ltd is one of the first companies in India that is planning to use drones for commercial deliveries. They have recently acquired TechEagle Innovations, a Lucknow based drone tech start-up. This acquisition has been promising in the field of drone delivery in the country. Zomato has its business in 23 countries, and India is the largest market for them. The service receives 90 million monthly visits from its users.
Zomato has shared that it is working on creating hub-to-hub delivery networks and building drones that are designed to pick up an average payload of less than 5kg and deliver them. The company plans to run a pilot in Delhi NCR soon and then scale the drone operations to other cities in the country. They are confident that their drone technology will be able to efficiently address the geographical challenges that they face in a market like India’s, where the complex address system and narrow lanes are common.
“We are living in a world of high tech infrastructure and advanced technologies such as AI, Robotics Machine Learning and IoT (Internet of Things). Drones are the next step we are planning to take for carrying out tasks with high accuracy taking Indian infrastructure and geographies into consideration. In fact, the current urban infrastructure will play a key role in launching the first phase of our drone based hub-to-hub delivery model in areas with a high frequency of orders,” says a Zomato spokesperson.
Zomato intends to make its next level drone delivery system completely automated. This means it will require minimal on ground human supervision. The first phase of the project will require human intervention as the drone delivery is only going to be from hub-to-hub initially and eventually be able to deliver the packages directly to the customer’s doorstep. “We are currently developing a system to avoid collisions that will rely on 360-degree sensors to be able to sense any kind of an obstacle in the vicinity, such as another drone or a bird, and consequently change its course of flight accordingly,” added the Zomato spokesperson.