Dawn Of The Age Of Drones: DGCA Gives Approval To Hyperlocal Start-Ups To Test Drone Delivery 

by Swarajya Staff - Jun 4, 2020 04:00 PM +05:30 IST
Dawn Of The Age Of Drones: DGCA Gives Approval To Hyperlocal Start-Ups To Test Drone Delivery Camera Drone (Representative Image) (Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In a major development, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has accorded approval to hyper-local delivery startups such as Dunzo, Swiggy, Zomato to start testing beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones for deliveries, reports Economic Times.

Confirming the development, a senior DGCA official reportedly said that a total of 13 entities including the delivery start-ups, budget airline SpiceJet, Reliance-backed drone startup Asteria Aerospace etc. have received the green signal from the regulator to test fly the drones.

Notably, the development comes a year after India announced its plans to allow experimental long-range drone flights before framing a policy for the sector. The testing of BVLOS flights will begin from the month of July.

As per the report, the approved private industry consortia will need to complete at least 100 hours of flight time in the specific airspace designated by Airport Authority of India by 30 September.

Afterwards, they are required to submit the data to DGCA, who will utilise the log to develop a policy for the sector.

The report quotes an official at the request of anonymity as saying, “Once they (the consortia) complete their flights and submit their logs, then we can really understand what will need to be the specifications required for BVLOS. ”

He adds, “Our plan was to have the draft policy out by August, but that got pushed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As per one LiveMint report, “Last year, the popular food delivery startup Zomato successfully completed a test delivery using drones in India. The drone carried a payload of 5 kg covered 5 kms in 10 minutes, said Deepinder Goyal, the CEO of Zomato. The drone hit a peak speed of 80 kmph. The food delivery chain aims to deliver food to customer in less than 15 minutes.”

The experiments can prove to be a game-changer in the field of fast and contact-less delivery of goods to home, especially in the post-covid world.

Reportedly, the government also looks at the development as a way of fast tracking its policy and preparing the local industry for a major push into the drone services segment globally.

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