Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Drone delivery of postal packages in rural areas possible: Garuda Aerospace founder after meeting PM Modi

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have outlined his vision to use drones for postal package delivery in the country’s remote areas, during a meeting with Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder, CEO of Indian drone startup Garuda Aerospace. This is in line with the recent reforms in the Civil Aviation laws and regulations that were aimed at spurring growth in the Drone industry. Zee Media Spoke to Agnishwar to understand the progress that his startup has made and how long it would take for the Prime Minister’s vision to materialize.

Agnishwar believes that the drone sector in India at present, is at a level similar to what E-commerce, E-learning were in, about a decade ago. He is optimistic that the ongoing decade would be one that brings drone technology, automation, artificial intelligence and their applications to the forefront. Elaborating on this, he points out how his firm’s fleet of drones are in use for a slew of purposes including mapping, industrial inspection, crop spraying, aerial surveying, search and rescue, sanitization, tunnel inspection etc. He adds that their drones undertook delivery of essential supplies to homes where COVID-19 affected persons were quarantined.

Queried specifically about the practical possibility of large-scale drone deliveries of postal packages, he says that there needs to be a wide demand for such services, for the industry to scale up to make it commercially available in large numbers. Besides the availability of drones, he also points out the need for technicians and pilots that would have to participate to make this a reality. Comparing it with the rapid growth of food-delivery apps and bike-borne service providers, he says that drones too can grow the same way.

Regarding the possible costs of drone delivery of postal packages and small cargo, he says “we can estimate it at Rs. 80 for delivery within a 10km radius. However, with adequate demand and widespread service availability, the cost could be brought down to Rs.40 for delivery within a 10km radius. While delivery cost is one factor, another crucial factor is that drone makers would have to modify our fleet”. This would have to be in accordance with the payload to be carried- given how delivering food or postal packages is vastly different from delivering envelopes.

26/10/21 Sidharth MP/ZeeNews

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