India on track to begin BVLOS trials in coming weeks

Drone services company Omnipresent plans to start food deliveries in India by drone in the coming weeks. The company received approval from the Indian government last month to conduct long range drone based deliveries such as food delivery, online purchase delivery, medicine and blood delivery in cases of emergency across India when the ministries of civil aviation and home affairs when permissions to a select number of companies to run beyond visual line of sight operations of drones.

Omnipresent is working with Indian drone company ShopX on a concept called AirTrain to create just in time delivery across Indian B2B value chains. According to the company press release, this allows small retailers to pick ‘Drone Delivery’ as a delivery option and get a wide range of products delivered to them within 30-60 minutes. Currently, these stores are limited by what they can carry in their limited shelf space, and conventional supply chains typically fulfil their needs once a week. With AirTrain, they can get real time fulfilment of products, thereby increasing their merchandizing ability and sales. ShopX is already running one of the largest eB2B retail networks in the country, with over 2 Lakh retailers on its technology platform.

The two companies have both previously worked on similar projects. Omnipresent tested drone deliveries for medicine for AIIMS hospital in Delhi, while ShopX and Omnipresent have jointly done trial deliveries in ShopX warehouses. Omnipresent has also developed an inhouse AI Engine called the Nerve Center which allows smart scheduling planning detection and classification on board the drone.

The Indian government is supporting BVLOS operations with the development of an automated Digital Sky platform which will allow authorized drone operators to fly in nearly 80% of India (Green and Yellow Zones) with automated real time online permissions process. This would result in exponential growth in the drone market as host of applications related to Ecom, food delivery and cross country mapping of highways, powerlines, railroad etc. It is expected that the drone services market with grow to about $2 billion in next 3-4 years in India.

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