Tatas seeks permit to test drones after Zomato, Swiggy and others

Chairman of the Tata Group, Natarajan ChandrasekaranBCCL
  • The Tata Group is planning to submit a proposal to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones in India according to a report by the Economic Times.
  • The $10 trillion conglomerate has already been involved in commercial tests for crop spraying, using drones.
  • The Tata Group has not specified an exact use cases but reportedly plans to use drone solutions for specific applications across its many businesses.
The Tata Group is joining the drone race in India and plans to test its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The $10 trillion conglomerate plans to seek certification from India’s apex drone regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) according to a report by the Economic Times before the July 10 deadline.

The DGCA invited applications for companies to showcase their beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones. The Tata Group sees this as an opportunity to use drones for specific applications across its many businesses, it hasn’t revealed an exact use case. The group has interests in steel, automobiles, retail, power, technology, consumer electronics to name a few.

In the past, the Tata Group had commercially tested crop spraying drones. Though the technology is ready, it was awaiting clarity from DGCA to start using it.

Tata’s not alone

The Tata Group is not the only player to respond the DGCA’s call for BVLOS drones. Delhivery, Zomato, Swiggy, Zipline, ShopX are also looking to certified by the agency to use drones for their services.

Zipline, a Silicon Valley company, is also looking to expand its medical delivery drone solutions to India. It already conducts around 500 deliveries in Ghana and Rwanda.

RedWing, another medical delivery drone service, has also submitted its application. The company has previously partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to make its services available in Papua New Guinea.

More rural than urban

Experts who spoke to the Economic Times speculate that regulators are more likely to permit drone flights in rural areas before introducing drones in dense urban settings.

They also ascertain that drone application in rural areas can also help the Indian government reduce costs and monitor progress of ongoing infrastructure projects.

The Tata Group did not respond to Business Insider India seeking a comment on these developments.

See also:
Flying drones in India may be 'legal' — but that doesn’t mean you’re getting doorstep deliveries

Flying drones are finally legal in India

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