Foodtech major Swiggy and integrated airspace company ANRA Technologies have jointly conducted over 300 drone-led deliveries of food and medicines in India.
A total of 352 drone trials were conducted for 100-plus flight hours, covering 1,100 kilometers of incident-free operations. The flights consisted of multirotor drones operating on ANRA’s SmartSkies CTR and SmartSkies DELIVERY software platforms, delivering products from Swiggy, the company said in a statement.
The trials were conducted in support of a project awarded by the Directorate General of Aviation (DGCA) and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) to prepare the next set of drone rules for commercial Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.
The companies claimed that this was the first time such missions had been carried out in India.
“The recently concluded pilot will help pave the way for users of commercial drones in enabling the middle and last-mile journey for our consumers,” said Dale Vaz, Chief Technology Officer, Swiggy.
As part of the trials, Anra’s flight team used its SmartSkies technology to conduct BVLOS food and medical package deliveries in the Etah and Rupnagar districts in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, respectively.
Out of the selected participants in the program, ANRA is said to be the only unmanned air traffic management (UTM) system technology provider to get approval from the Government of India MOCA to lead two consortia as part of this initiative.
The first consortium focused on food delivery included ANRA Technologies, Swiggy, the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar (IIT Ropar) and BetterDrones, a drone service provider. The second focused on medical deliveries and comprised ANRA Technologies and the IIT Ropar.
The companies said that the project was meant to help develop “independent, self-directed, and scalable” systems to manage and monitor BVLOS drone operations at scale.
BVLOS operations require operators to factor in information on terrain, possible obstacles, airspace traffic, weather, and more. The system used by Swiggy and ANRA makes this information available to service providers and can send notifications to external stakeholders, including government agencies and public safety bodies.
Further, the companies also said that the system could ensure that only authenticated and approved drones are allowed to fly in the airspace. ANRA’s unmanned air traffic management (UTM) system was provided to government stakeholders, including the Indian Air Force, to provide real-time situational awareness, monitoring and approval of these experiments.