DGCA approves drone testing for Swiggy, Zomato

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Thirteen logistics and service providing companies have been given approval by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct drone testing to deliver food and other necessary amenities such as medicines and books.

Food delivery consortia like Zomato and Swiggy could be delivering food via drone-delivery in the nearest future. Logistics companies like Dunzo have also been permitted. This exercise will boost the drone-industry and will also revive the losses faced by the logistics industry due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus leading to a long period of lockdown. These thirteen companies will be testing drones to clear a regulatory requirement of 100 hours of flight time by September 30. If they pass the regulatory test, India will likely be able to operate local-based drone-services. Last year Zomato was permitted to deliver food using drones.

India had announced to allow experimental long-range drone flights last year and the testing will begin from July 2020. Last month, DGCA had given a nod to SpiceJet, a budget airline service, whose cargo wing SpiceXpress will start conducting test trials and will emphasize delivering medical emergency goods and other essential amenities.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had earlier exempted usage of drones for non-commercial purposes but has approved that it can be flown with restrictions. However, it cannot be flown in and around “No-Fly Zones”.

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