Zomato took a giant leap in technology by successfully testing a drone for a non-commercial aerial delivery on Wednesday. The food delivery firm used a hybrid drone built by TechEagle, a Lucknow based drone startup it had acquired earlier.
The trial was part of the initiative to reduce the delivery time of the meals as well as avoid traffic congestion and pollution. IANS reported that the drone was tested in a remote site with the approval of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The test was conducted within a delivery range of about 5 km with a flight load of 5 kg. The drone was tested in the presence of a pilot to check the abnormality and problems in the flight.
The drone was a fully automated lightweight carrier with sensors to avoid static objects in the way. It had two modes namely, helicopter mode for a vertical takeoff and airplane mode for the transit to the delivery hub. It will be programmed for a hub-to-hub delivery using the onboard computer and GPS, said a developer.
Deepinder Goyal, founder, and CEO, Zomato, is very positive about the future of drone delivery. "We have been working towards building sustainable and safe delivery technology and with our first successful test, food delivery by drones is no longer just a pipe dream," he told IANS. He added that his vision is to deliver food to people within 15 minutes of ordering. According to him, drone delivery will not be the next big thing but the next common thing within a few years.
Looking forward to the advantages of drone delivery, DGCA has issued notification asking interested companies to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for conducting their Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLS) tests.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) legalised commercial drones in September 2018. Jayant Sinha, minister of state of civil aviation at that time, said that drone deliveries can help in boosting logistics capabilities.
Major initiatives by large companies for drone deliveries:
- Dominos Pizza has successfully tested its first drone pizza delivery in New Zealand.
- Uber will be delivering fast food by drones in San Diego by the summer of 2019.
- Amazon Prime Air is working on the process to deliver packages by drones in the dense localities of the US, Israel, and the UK.
- Ukrainian postal service has partnered with Israeli drone maker Flytrex to help deliver postal up to 6.6 pounds by drones.