Trials on ‘beyond line of sight’ drone delivery to start in April

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on March 11, 2020

100 hours of trials will involve delivery of medicines, food

The much-awaited trials on BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) drone delivery are proposed to be conducted in the second half of April in Bengaluru.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has accorded clearance to a few players in the drone industry to try out BVLOS deliveries as a pilot initiative, according Ankit Kumar, Serial Entrepreneur & Managing Partner Alternative Global India (AGI), a consulting firm.

Ankit Kumar told BusinessLine, “The test deliveries will be taken up for about 100 hours of BVLOS trials for delivery of medicines, food and other packages in Bengaluru in the second half of next month.”

There are multiple stakeholders in a given consortium including a drone manufacturer, a drone operator, a service provider, a consultant, a safety expert, a remote pilot, a 3D mapping provider, a mobile network operator and a data analytics provider, he explained.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, the DGCA and AAI trained the pilots in Hyderabad last month.

Ankit Kumar said: “We have seen this industry grow from scratch and have helped many companies to venture into the Indian market. AGI is also helping multiple Indian drone companies to explore global markets including Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka. We are also helping them with the anti-drone technology.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind trials. So far, no one has flown 100 hours of BVLOS in India. It is complex and poses a number of challenges. But the whole idea is to learn and address some of the challenges keeping safety and security as top priority,” he said.

After the pilot tests and trials, the safety case and the proof of concept will be submitted to the DGCA, which is likely to come out with norms for BVLOS operations in India. This would open doors for immense business opportunities not just in delivery but also in infrastructure; surveying and mapping; and inspection in mining, oil & gas, transmission lines and telecom sector.

Published on March 11, 2020

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