Bengaluru-based food delivery service Swiggy will now use drones to deliver groceries as part of its Instamart function.
The company stated in a blog post titled ‘Swiggy Bytes’ that the drone experiments will be done in two stages, with Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace in Bengaluru and Skyeair Mobility in Delhi-NCR, both of which will begin soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launched Garuda Aerospace’s drone manufacturing facilities in Manesar, Gurugram, and Chennai in February. Moreover, this drone-maker, which is currently valued at $250 million, is one of India’s most promising drone businesses, with an aim to build a lakh drones in India by 2024 and provide drone technology services.
After the first tranche’s lessons have been compiled, ANRA and the TechEagle consortium, as well as Marut Dronetech, will undertake the pilot for the second tranche.
As reported, the founder and CEO of Garuda Aerospace Agnishwar Jayaprakash confirmed the pilot project will begin during the first week of May.
While explaining the process, he said the drones will transport grocery packages from storage spaces known as dark stores owned and operated by sellers or from a store to a common middle point known as a drone port.
From the port, a Swiggy delivery person will pick up the package and deliver it to the customer, he said, adding the food delivery major is in charge of the common middle point and will provide the addresses.
The goal of the pilot, according to Swiggy, is to see if drones can be used in the middle mile, “particularly for Swiggy’s food delivery service Instamart”.
However, it is unclear whether Swiggy will cover costs if the drones cause damage to public or private property. It is also not clear whether the company has the required drone operators to purchase a public liability insurance policy.
Swiggy performed testing with ANRA in December last year as part of its Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) trials, which included over 300 drone-led food and pharmaceutical delivery trials.
The government has not yet permitted BVLOS operations for drone deliveries. However, it is reported that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted a conditional exemption to 20 entities, including Swiggy.