Tuesday, August 10, 2021

RattanIndia Enterprises ventures into drone sector; to make strategic investment in US firm

Mumbai: RattanIndia Enterprises has ventured into the fast-growing drone industry, and will make a strategic investment in the US-based urban drone logistics platform Matternet, the company said on Tuesday. The Delhi-based company had earlier this month announced that its Board will meet on August 10 to consider and evaluate a proposal for strategic investment in a new-age business in an overseas company. 

Founded in 2011 by Andreas Raptopoulos, the Silicon Valley-based Matternet counts Boeing, Mercedes-Benz, McKesson Ventures and Sony as investors, according to a release. It provides technology for on-demand, autonomous aerial delivery in urban environments and has garnered more revenue to date than any other UAV company from its operations in the US and Switzerland, it said. 

“RattanIndia Enterprises has decided to make a strategic investment in US-based Matternet, the world''s most extensive urban drone logistics platform. With this investment, REL has forayed into the deep-tech Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry, which is set to transform logistics ecosystems worldwide,” the company said. 

Matternet currently provides its platform-as-a-service to companies in the fields of healthcare and logistics, RattanIndia said, adding together with its partners, Swiss Post, UPS and Japan Airlines (JAL), it serves numerous hospitals and pharmacy chains such as CVS, WakeMed Hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Health, EOC Lugano and University of Zurich Hospital.

 Anjali Rattan, Business Chairperson, RattanIndia Enterprises, said, “We are highly impressed with the team and credentials of Matternet. The partnership with Matternet is in line with our philosophy of investing in new-age cleantech companies with tremendous growth potential. We share Government''s vision of Drone as a future-tech, which opens new vistas of business opportunities”. RattanIndia Enterprises'' investment in the drone space comes in the backdrop of the central government opening up the industry to the market. Last month, the government released Draft Drone Rules, which are intended to ensure the ease of using drones in India based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring”.

 Some key changes from the earlier Unmanned Aircraft System Rules released on 12 March this year include a reduction in the number of required approvals, a shift to faster and paperless approvals, simpler processes, no restrictions on drone operations of foreign-owned companies, a reduction in limits for operations from the airport perimeter, and a reduction in fees. The government is also planning to establish “drone corridors” for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council to facilitate a drone-friendly regulatory regime. 

10/08/21 PTI/Outlook

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