Indian E-Commerce Portals May Start Drone Deliveries Earlier Than Expected!
We Indians have been longing to get our goods delivered via drones ever since Amazon revealed its plan to deliver its shipments using drones.
We got even more excited when a Mumbai-based restaurant tested a drone for delivering a pizza back in May 2014. The drone took around 10 minutes to deliver the package weighing around 500g at a distance of 1.5 km from the restaurant. Let me remind you that it takes about 30 minutes for a pizza delivery boy to deliver the pizza at such a short distance in heavy Mumbai traffic.
Why Aren’t Civil Drones Allowed For Delivering Shipments?
While drones can save a lot of time and human effort for delivering shipments at doorsteps, the technology isn’t yet ready to deliver goods in an urban environment. There are a lot of security protocols and safety regulations to follow (most of which are undefined for civil drones) which make it impossible for e-commerce giants to use civil drones for delivering goods throughout the world.
However, this may not be a problem in near future.
Expect Drone Deliveries At Your Doorstep By Next Year
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) hasn’t yet issued any guidelines and standards for the use of drones for civil purposes. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also restricted the civil use of drones in India by issuing a public notice last year.
But according to the latest developments, DGCA is now fast tracking the process of issuing guidelines for the use of drones for civil purposes in India.
“The DGCA has restricted the use of drones in India at present, but at the same time it has initiated the process of framing the guidelines for operations,” said an official from the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The Civil Aviation Ministry is currently looking into the safety aspect of using drones for civil purposes at the moment. These guidelines are expected to be finalized in the next few months will let e-commerce portals like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and the likes to start drone deliveries in India by next year.
If everything goes as per the plan, then India might become the first country in the world to allow the use of drones for civil purposes.
Countries like China are already testing the use of drones for delivering goods on a large-scale. Taobao, an Alibaba owned marketplace, is already using the drones for shipping light goods weighing up to 340 grams.
Currently, the civil drones have the capacity the deliver goods up to 8 km from the warehouse. As many countries are considering the use of drones for civil purposes, now would be a good time for all drone manufacturers to accelerate their technology development processes and increase this delivery range from a mere 8 km to something like 25 km which could easily cover most cities in India.