Wednesday June 26, 2019
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Zomato Successfully Tests Food Packet Delivery Using Drones at 80kmph

The only possible way to reduce the average 30 minutes to 15 minutes is to take the aerial route. Roads are not efficient for very fast deliveries

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Zomato had acquired TechEagle, a Lucknow-based drone startup, to solve issues such as reducing pollution and handling traffic in 2018 end. Wikimedia Commons

Online ordering and food delivery platform Zomato on Wednesday said it has successfully tested its maiden drone delivery technology using a hybrid drone that covered a distance of five km in about 10 minutes with a peak speed of 80 kmph to deliver a food packet.

“The drone was tested last week at one of the remote sites approved by the DGCA. Such tests are done at very remote sites which are especially designed to conduct such tests,” Zomato told IANS. However, the food aggregator did not reveal the exact location where the drone delivered the package.

According to the notification issued by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on May 13, interested companies have been asked to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the DGCA for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations (BVLOS) of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

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Zomato did not reveal the exact location where the drone delivered the package. Wikimedia Commons

“The only possible way to reduce the average 30 minutes to 15 minutes is to take the aerial route. Roads are not efficient for very fast deliveries. “We have been working towards building sustainable and safe delivery technology and with our first successful test, food delivery by drones is no longer just a pipe dream,” Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato, said in a statement.

“While regulatory hurdles are not trivial, and the government’s concerns need to be looked at from various (valid) points of view, the tech is ready to fly and I am confident that drone delivery will be commonplace sooner rather than later.”

zomato, drones
A drone demonstrates delivery capabilities from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida. VOA

The hybrid drone with a fusion of rotary wing and fixed wings carried a payload of five kg. Fully automated, each drone is currently being tested with (remote) pilot supervision to ensure safety.

ALSO READ: Fire Department to Use Chinese Drones Despite Possible Theft of Sensitive Data

Over time, as the company collects more data, it is likely to do away with the pilot supervision. Zomato had acquired TechEagle, a Lucknow-based drone startup, to solve issues such as reducing pollution and handling traffic in 2018 end. Currently, the average time required for the food delivery platform’s biker fleet to deliver food is 30 minutes.

Considering the increasing congestion on roads and pollution, using drones for delivery could be a game changer for metro cities as it would help scrape unnecessary traffic off the roads and direct it skyward, the company added. (IANS)

Next Story

Environmental Activists Postpone Drone Protest at London Airport; Could Endanger Travelers’ Life

Heathrow Airport called the planned action "reckless", saying it "could endanger the lives of the traveling public and our colleagues"

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FILE - A photo shows a large screen at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 in London, Britain, April 23, 2014. VOA

A group of British environmental activists have postponed their plan to ground flights at London’s Heathrow Airport. Extinction Rebellion had planned to use drones to paralyze Europe’s busiest airport intermittently in June and July to draw attention to the environmental harm that would be caused by the planned third runway.

The first of the protests was to take place Tuesday. “Extinction Rebellion will not be carrying out any actions at Heathrow Airport in June or July this year,” the group said in a statement. “The Heathrow Airport authorities will therefore not have to pause any summer flights.”

On Friday, British law enforcement authorities warned the activists that flying drones would result in life in prison for the participants. Heathrow Airport called the planned action “reckless”, saying it “could endanger the lives of the traveling public and our colleagues”.

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In December, thousands of flights were grounded at Gatwick Airport outside London after drones were spotted flying around it. Wikimedia Commons

But the group rejected claims that its actions could cause harm.  The group said it is not abandoning its plans for drone protests. On Sunday, it detailed its plans saying the lightweight drones would only be flown at head height within the 5 kilometer exclusion zone around Heathrow, forcing the airport to ground flights.   It did not disclose the dates for its protests.

ALSO READ: Washington Supplies 34 Aerial Drones to Southeast Asians through Security Assistance Funds

“There is nothing violent about flying drones when there are no flights in the air as it is perfectly safe,” the group said in a statement. “We are there first. The responsibility is with the airport authority to not initiate flights.”

Extinction Rebellion said its aim was to achieve “economic disruption” not to hurt people. In December, thousands of flights were grounded at Gatwick Airport outside London after drones were spotted flying around it. Extinction Rebellion says it was not responsible for that action. (VOA)