Delivery Drones to hit Indian market soon

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After the successful use of drones in several countries like the US, UK, Africa, etc, companies like Amazon and Flipkart will soon start to deliver their packages through drones, as the aviation ministry revealed a proposed policy to allow commercial use of these unmanned aerial vehicles.

Drone delivery is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is used to deliver lightweight packages. Initially, the use of drones was restricted to video or photography. Experts thought the drones can be used for many other purposes like delivering packages to emergency services, environment monitoring and providing wireless internet in remote areas.

The draft policy categorized drones into five segments based on weight-from 250 grams to over 150 kilograms. Also, most of these drones should be registered with the aviation regulator. Along with these conditions, it also restricted operations of UAVs to be within the sight of the operator and can be used only during day time.

According to the draft, drones in the Nano category -weighing up to 250 grams -and those operated by government agencies would not require any permission. The draft will be under consultation for a month and final rules are likely to come out by the end of December.

Delivery drones are operated with remote with operators keeping it away from other drones. Drones are to deliver time-sensitive items like medicines or the things which are difficult to deliver with traditional vehicle-based services. They are commonly used to change last-mile delivery economics for smaller and lighter packages.

Drones usually have 4-8 propellers and rechargeable batteries to provide thrust and packages are attached under the body of the drone.  They work with GPS or Global positioning services.

Minister of state Sinha said: “With this policy, we opened the door for experimentation and innovation in India. “Aviation secretary RN Choubey said at a press conference “These rules allow companies to deliver goods at doorstep provided they follow the rules. He also added“The aviation ministers -Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Jayant Sinha want to allow everyone to use drones.

Several companies are now testing drones in the US.

The regulations require a licensed pilot to keep the drone in his sight and it cannot be operated from moving vehicles. Also, the weight of the drone and the package must be under 55pounds.

Amazon is testing its drone under its Prime Air Brand and has confirmed that 86% of its packages weight under 55 pounds. Similarly, A traditional carrier- UPS is testing is drones that can be launched from a traditional delivery vehicle which will allow drivers to deliver more packages and will save fuel. DHL has used drones to deliver blood samples and medicines to remote islands and to deliver packages in remote mountain towns in one-third time as compared to ground delivery.

They have also created automated ‘pack stations’ that allow customers to insert the package that has to be delivered without any human interference. Several companies use drones to deliver blood samples from remote African villages to labs for quick testing saving the time of travelling over the bad road infrastructure.

Delivery drones could help in reducing costs and time for last-mile deliveries. While a UPS and FedX ground delivery may cost a minimum 6$ for a delivery, a drone would deliver it in as low as five cents per mile in just 30 minutes.

Google and several tech giants are working to expand drone applications.Using drones will save time and money in India. What do you think? Do share your views.

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