In the run-up to making drones available for civilian and commercial purposes, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now sought detailed plans from seven companies that had requested for permission for drone deliveries. The final shortlisted companies include Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, Zipline, Redwing, Throttle Aerospace Systems and Honeywell.
An ET report said that DGCA has sought further details from seven consortia that had applied to conduct long-range, or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), drone experiments. The DGCA had sought applications from players interested in conducting BVLOS drone operations on an experimental basis in May.
Drone Delivery Experiments To Begin Soon
Under the original plan, approvals to conduct the experiments were to be received in August, with each approved party receiving two months for preparations and two more months to run experiments. The seven companies shortlisted were selected after 27 other applicants were reportedly rejected. The DGCA had reportedly sought additional technical details pertaining to a company’s BVLOS application.
This company reportedly said that they are expecting approvals in next month so as to begin its services by January 2020. The delay in the process has been reportedly attributed to the unavailability of members of the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) committee.
Notably, Redwing and Zipline have partnered with the state governments of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra, respectively, along with other technical partners, to enable the delivery of drugs, vaccines and blood packets to remote areas. Further, Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo are likely to conduct technical demonstrations without actually delivering packages to customers due to Digital Sky rules in metros.
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, while the global opportunity is estimated to touch $21.47 Bn during this period.
Realising the huge market opportunity and potential impact of civic drones, various state and central government bodies have also announced drone projects. In September 2018, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) legalised flying commercial drones under the Digital Sky rules. Following which it released the draft note for Drone Regulations 2.0 in 2019, which had proposed regulations for the operation of drones in public spaces, particularly the ones implemented at a commercial scale.