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Logistics Unicorn Delhivery Looks To Drones, EVs For Faster Deliveries

Logistics Unicorn Delhivery Looks To Drones, EVs For Faster Deliveries

Drones and EVs are part of the company’s plans for the next phase of growth

The company is still awaiting the government’s approval for its drone delivery operations

The Indian govt is also looking to regulate the usage of drones for commercial purposes such as deliveries

Besides Zomato and Amazon, Delhivery is also planning to enhance its delivery services by infusing electric vehicles (EV) and drones into its logistics. Announcing its plans at the Nasscom Product Conclave today (November 5), Delhivery added that it wants to scale up its operations in India with the use of new-age delivery options such as drones and EVs.

The Gurugram-based logistics startup was founded by Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, and Suraj Saharan. In October, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank increased its stake in Delhivery to 25.73%. SoftBank plans to become the largest shareholder in Delhivery by acquiring a 37.97% stake and has sought approval to invest $450 Mn in the logistics startup.

Vaibhav Suri, joint head of product and strategy at Delhivery, said that the company believes that rolling out EVs for delivery is a very scalable option. As far as the drones’ plan is concerned, Delhivery believes that inclusion of drones will cut the cost of deliveries by 45%, as that is the amount that is paid to the driver.

A Few More Miles To Go Before Take-Off

However, the drone plan is still awaiting approvals and has a few miles to fly. Even though the Indian government is looking to relax its strict norms around drone usage for civilian and commercial purposes, the process is still underway.

In September 2018, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) legalised flying drones for commercial use under the Digital Sky rules. Later, the ministry also released the draft note for Drone Regulations 2.0 in 2019. The draft rules elaborate on proposed regulations for the operation of drones in public spaces, particularly the ones implemented at a commercial scale.

According to a global market intelligence and advisory firm BIS Research, the Indian drone market is expected to be valued at $885.7 Mn by 2021. However, the global opportunity is estimated to reach $21.47 Bn during the same timeframe, which means India lags behind in many ways when it comes to drone applications and usage.

Last month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) sought detailed plans from seven companies — Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, Zipline, Redwing, Throttle Aerospace Systems and Honeywell — that had requested for permission for drone deliveries for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone applications.

Further, airlines SpiceJet’s cargo unit SpiceXpress is looking to participate in the experimental BVLOS drone operations. Last month, the company tied up with Bengaluru-based drone manufacturer Throttle Aerospace Systems, who will provide drones and conduct experiments on behalf of the airlines.