WOW! Amazon.in To Deliver Goods Using Drone This Diwali; But Is It Legal In India Yet?
Recent reports are coming in according to which, instead of US, Amazon plans to develop India as a Launchpad for their ambitious plan of using drones for delivery of goods ordered via their ecommerce portal.
As per insiders from Amazon, Mumbai and Bangalore are the cities where they have their own warehouses, and this is the reason drone-enabled delivery would start from these cities as early as this Diwali.
Earlier, Amazon had announced that they are developing drones which weigh less than 25 kgs, and can travel at 80 km/hr speed. These drones can carry a weight upto 2.26 kg, which actually covers 86% of all products sold on Amazon.
Check out how drones are expected to work.
But, the question is, are drones legal to use in India?
Drone Delivery in India & Controversies
Few months back, a pizza outlet in Mumbai managed to gather lots of press coverage when it delivered a pizza using a drone at a high rise apartment which was 1.5 kms away from their location. The drone was unmanned, and the whole delivery process was video-shot and shared on Youtube:
However, around 12 days later, this pizza outlet received complaint from Mumbai police, stating why they didn’t take permission from them prior to using drones. As per the police officials, drone usage is not permitted without due investigation.
Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Madhukar Pandey said, “An unmanned vehicle cannot be used in Mumbai without seeking the requisite security clearance. This includes aerial vehicles. The outlet never approached us for any permission. We learnt about it through the media and have demanded an explanation,”
Besides other dangers, unmanned drones can be the best tool of destruction by terrorists, and the warnings are already in place. Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal who was one of the handlers of 26/11 attack on Mumbai had shared with police that Pakistani terrorists have planned aerial attacks on the city. Considering such threats, Mumbai police was absolutely right in demanding explanation from the pizza outlet.
In another case last month, 4 persons were detained as they were using a drone to video-shoot Ganga Aarti in Varanasi. It was the same ghat where PM Narendra Modi had given a speech after his election win from the holy city, and the police were cautioned that the area may be targeted for terrorist attacks.
Unclear Rules and Incomplete Laws in India
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which is responsible for implementing, controlling, and supervising airworthiness standards, safety operations in India hasn’t yet made any rules for drones. Although they allow limited bandwidth of radio frequency which can be used by civilians for ‘recreational flying’, there are no existing rules which clearly mentions the legality of drones for commercial usage.
Prabhat Kumar, the director general of the DGCA had recently said, “We don’t have any regulations for drones right now, but are in the process of preparing some rules. We are looking at regulations being developed in other countries for reference.”
Commercial Drone Usage in USA: Illegal
If we talk about US, then usage of drone is clearly illegal there. When Amazon had announced that they will use drones for delivery in USA, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is the national authority on aviation had clearly stated that flying drones is illegal in USA.
Although they didn’t name Amazon while declaring legality of drones, it was well understood that the announcement was directed towards world’s biggest ecommerce company itself.
Is this the reason that Amazon has decided to experiment with India for Drone deliveries?
Amazon hasn’t yet clarified this report of using drones to deliver goods this Diwali. We will keep you updated as more information comes in.
Meanwhile do share your opinion on this development: Should Amazon go ahead with their plans of drone enabled delivery or they should wait till some solid legal framework is in place, considering terrorist threats and other dangers associated with this mode of transport?
Share your views by commenting right here!