In yet another step towards the commercial use of drones in the country, the committee constituted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has granted approval to Dunzo, a hyper local delivery startup and Throttle Aerospace Systems, a Bengaluru-based company that manufactures drones to test long-range and autonomous use of drones.
As per an Economic Times report, the committee is named the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring Committee (BEAM). BVLOS here is the acronym for beyond visual line of sight. The idea is that the drone will travel beyond the visual range of the operator to make deliveries or whatever other task it is assigned.
Dunzo and Throttle Aerospace will now conduct their trials outside of Bengaluru and the drones will have to be tested for 100 hours of flying and found capable of all the parameters outlined for their ultimate deployment for commercial use. They will conduct the tests independent of each other.
The learnings from the test including the video evidences will then be compiled by the team from BEAM and submitted to the civil aviation authorities at DGCA. The government may use these to put out a draft law to govern the use of long range and autonomous drones. So, itâ€™s still a long way before you get your parcel delivered by Dunzo using a drone. The test may take place in February 2020.
Apart from these two companies that have received the nod from the authorities, there are several entities that have applied for approval to run a drone service. These include SpiceXpress, Tata Advanced Systems, Zipline and Redwing Aerospace. Some of these are service providers like food order delivery company Zomato. There are drone makers also who may obtain the approval and rent out their drones to third parties for a fee. Most of these entities are awaiting the approval from the BEAM committee to hold the tests like it has been done for Dunzo and Throttle Aerospace.
Dunzo makes local deliveries of practically anything and want to build on it on a larger commercial scale.
Experts are of the opinion that if handled correctly, drones can be used for very critical purposes like organ delivery etc. Current delivery times can be cut down drastically. In terms of costs of delivery, it is indicated that the per kilo cost of making a delivery by a drone is cheaper than through a truck. However, the limitation is the quantity that a drone can carry compared to a truck.