BENGALURU: Foodtech unicorn Swiggy along with drone and traffic management solution provider ANRA Technologies will begin test flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones for deliveries sometime in the middle of July, subject to easing of covid-19 restrictions.
Last week, delivery startups including Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo, budget airline SpiceJet, Reliance-backed drone startup Asteria Aerospace were among 13 consortia which received approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to test-fly these drones.
Now, the ANRA-led consortium which includes Swiggy, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar, as well as BetterDrones, a drone service provider, have collaborated to start pilots on delivering consumable items on-demand to residents in and around IIT Campus in Ropar.
Swiggy customers in the campus will be able to place on-demand orders for snacks, food items, beverages and other essentials using the Swiggy App powered by the ANRA’s Technologies’ SmartSkies platform.
The solution, then, will allow for real-time flight tracking so customers know exactly when their delivery will arrive. During pilots, orders will be immediately processed and delivered to the nearest launch site where the package is transferred to a drone and flown to a predetermined drop site within an eight square kilometer area.
From there, a Swiggy driver will make the final delivery by motorcycle to the customer’s doorstep.
The drone test operations are targeted towards long-distance deliveries, which will help hyperlocal players like Swiggy, deliver from restaurants in the farthest areas, while reducing the delivery time, said a person aware about the pilots.
“We are constantly working towards pushing the envelope with technological innovations applied to deliver convenience at scale. ANRA’s domain expertise combined with Swiggy’s deep market knowledge will enable the laying of groundwork for BVLOS operations for food delivery use cases. We believe that drone technology utilized to deliver consumer services will provide an unprecedented boost to the business”, said Alok Jain, entrepreneur-in-residence, Swiggy.
“The recent covid-19 has shown that remote and unmanned delivery of essential items can not only be an usual business proposition but can be a life-saving endeavor aimed at restricting infections under such emergencies. IIT Ropar has already started efforts in this direction. I’m sure the present collaboration will bring out products and services of significant business and social impact”, stated S K Das, director, IIT Ropar
Washington-based ANRA Technologies (MoCA), which provides drone operations and traffic management solutions for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators, has been permitted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to lead two consortia for BVLOS experimentation.
As a part of this experimentation, the DGCA wanted to see the commercial possibilities of the BVLOS drones, and set up the BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) committee in the first half of 2019, calling in for applications.
Thereafter the BEAM committee selected Zomato, Swiggy, Zipline and Redwing, and Throttle Aerospace Systems for long-range or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone experiments.