Swiggy receives regulatory approval to start drone trials for food delivery in India

INDIA – Swiggy, India’s largest online food ordering and delivery platform, is set to start drone trials for food delivery in Mumbai, one of India’s largest cities. 

This is after it’s drone delivery partner ANRA Technologies received clearance from government authorities to commence drone trials for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in India. 

With the regulatory hurdle now successfully passed, ANRA confirmed that over the next several weeks, its flight team will conduct BVLOS food and medical package deliveries in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah and Punjab’s Rupnagar districts. 

According to the company, the teams will be using ANRA’s SmartSkies technology to conduct the food and medicine delivery trials.  

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The trial is especially important to Swiggy as its success could pave way for a wider roll-out of drones in food delivery not only in Mumbai but also in other states where Swiggy has a presence. 
 
“Swiggy is excited about the potential that drones offer and look forward to trials on BVLOS operations for the use case of food delivery,” the company said in a statement.  

“Through Swiggy’s association with ANRA, Swiggy aims to put the long-range proficiencies of drone technology to best use and accomplish some ground-breaking trials.” 

ANRA’s flight team had launched its first test flight on June 16, 2021, after months of planning and assessment, air traffic control integration.   

In the first test flight, the team showcased how food packages can be easily delivered using medium drones.  

Food packages mostly tend to weigh less than 1 KG and can be easily picked up by medium-sized drones that have a load capacity of 3 KG to 4 KG. 

Swiggy is however not the only delivery company to test drone delivery in India as earlier in June, Google-backed Dunzo announced that it will pilot drone delivery of medicines under the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in Telangana.  

The company had said that drone delivery would provide instantaneous access to vaccines and medicine to people living in rural areas.  

Outside India, Drone delivery has been taking place from as far back as 2019 with a number of drone companies developing and improving food delivery drones. 

In the US, a number of companies including Alphabet Wing, Flytrex, Deuce Drone, and Uber have all trialed delivering food via Drones. 

The trials have successfully demonstrated that flying food reduces delivery time and costs while at the same time increasing the delivery radius.  

Drone food deliveries have however been faced with challenges, particularly on where and how to deliver food.  

Interacting with big food delivery drones is scary, and risky, for the untrained end consumer, limiting the ability of drones to deliver food at a customer’s doorstep.  

The generally accepted hybrid system is where food is delivered to a designated place where a rider can pick and deliver it to the customer. 

Either way, drone delivery is advantageous to both the customer and the business and if successful, it would give Swiggy an edge over its competitors such as Zomato and Uber Eats.

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