News from India this week shows the extra­or­di­nary poten­tial of drone deliv­ery in the coun­try after logis­tics drone man­u­fac­tur­er, Scan­dron, signed a strate­gic part­ner­ship with Crit­ica­Log India, a B2B hub-to-hub com­pa­ny, reports

While Scan­dron is invest­ing Rs 100 crore ini­tial­ly (equiv­a­lent to around UKP1 bil­lion), the col­lab­o­ra­tion “aspires to gar­ner future busi­ness worth 500 to 600 crore” (close to UKP5 to 6 bil­lion). This high­ly ambi­tious finan­cial plan is due to insti­gat­ing “drone deliv­er­ies across 160 Indi­an cities start­ing with Ben­galu­ru”, said Arjun Naik, CEO of Scan­dron. The next des­ti­na­tions are two cities in the North and two oth­ers in the North East of India. Naik hasn’t named them, yet.

Arjun Naik (left), Sujoy Guha (right) (cred­it: Scan­dron)

The arti­cle says, “The part­ner­ship will look at ware­house-to-ware­house deliv­ery of time-sen­si­tive, crit­i­cal, and high-val­ue goods includ­ing prod­uct servers, elec­tron­ic com­po­nents, high-val­ue cash items, med­ical equip­ment, and auto­mo­tive com­po­nents etc..” 

Sujoy Guha, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor and CEO of Crit­ica­Log India, com­ment­ed, “We are excit­ed to work togeth­er to ensure time­ly and effi­cient deliv­ery of crit­i­cal ship­ments across ver­ti­cals such as health­care, auto­mo­tive, ITes, etc..”

The com­pa­ny will begin oper­a­tions with two drones, a Car­go­max 500 with a pay­load capac­i­ty of 5 kg; flight range of over 30 kms; and endurance of about an hour. The sec­ond drone, a Car­go­max 2000 has a pay­load capac­i­ty of 20 kgs; a flight range of 20 kms and endurance of about an hour. The two drones are ful­ly autonomous and equipped with car­go box­es. Stan­dard-sized car­go box­es can also be attached to the drones for the pur­pose of deliv­ery.

The com­pa­ny is cur­rent­ly in the process of get­ting Direc­torate of Gen­er­al of Civ­il Avi­a­tion (DGCA) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on its drones and is expect­ed to start oper­a­tions with­in the next three months. 

Naik explained, “We are doing route prob­ing, in which we do the routes at a slow­er pace. We will map the routes out, see poten­tial obsta­cles and avoid high­ly con­gest­ed areas on the ground so they (drones) have a pat­tern that they fol­low. Once that (route) has been mapped out, you work with the author­i­ties to estab­lish that route and then you start the oper­a­tions.”

He con­tin­ued, “The reg­u­la­to­ry aspect is very well laid out and there is a struc­ture in place which the play­ers can work with.” Adding, “We’re work­ing with the gov­ern­ment for that so it should come through in a cou­ple of weeks.”

(cred­it: Scan­dron)

This is the first time Scan­dron will oper­ate car­go drones at this scale. Oth­er craft that the com­pa­ny man­u­fac­tures and oper­ates are for defence and agri­cul­ture as well as cus­tomised drones and anti-drone sys­tems. It also pro­vides drone-based inspec­tion solu­tions across var­i­ous indus­tries.

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(Top image: Scan­dron)