Zomato successfully tests its drone technology

E-commerce companies and food-delivery platforms are globally believed to be among the first adopters of drone-based delivery.

Zomato, the online ordering and food delivery platform, on Wednesday announced that it has successfully tested its drone delivery technology. The test, which was conducted using a hybrid drone, was a part of the company's attempts to reduce the time taken to make a food delivery to its customers.

The first test saw Zomato make a drone-based food package delivery under restricted conditions, covering 5 km in 10 minutes and at peak speed of 80 kmph.

"The drone was tested last week at one of the remote sites approved by the DGCA. Such tests are done at very remote sites which are especially designed to conduct such tests," Zomato told IANS.

It comes months after Gurgaon-headquartered firm had acquired Lucknow-based drone startup TechEagle to reduce food delivery times and solve other issues like pollution and traffic. Zomato also revealed that it is forming a consortium as per Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) guidelines to carry out experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

However, the food aggregator did not reveal the exact location where the drone delivered the package.

According to the notification issued by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on May 13, interested companies have been asked to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the DGCA for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations (BVLOS) of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Currently, while regulations prohibit payload carriage on drones along with disallowing drone operations outside visual line of sight, the government — while announcing rules for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in August last — had said that the norms will be evolved with time as and when companies are able to exhibit newer technologies.

"The only possible way to reduce the average 30 minutes to 15 minutes is to take the aerial route. Roads are not efficient for very fast deliveries.