Dunzo, Throttle get DGCA nod to test long-range drones

Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA), India’s civil aviation authority has given approval to the applications of Google-backed hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems to test long-range and autonomous drone use. The long range drones can significantly enhance logistic services in Indian hinterland and may become a significant multiplier to the economy. Although DGCA is still in process of approving BVLOS experiments, but these two companies have been selected and are awaiting signed letters.

Key Highlights

The approvals are a part of the DGCA’s experimental programme, called beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations, which was notified in May 2019. The BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) Committee will be responsible for overseeing the evidence collected on use of drones and their safety aspects as well as submitting findings before Centre Government frames laws for long-range and autonomous drone use.

The two companies- Dunzo and Throttle Aerospace are likely to begin experimental drone flights from mid-to late February 2020 and have identified airspaces outside of Bengaluru. The test flights are meant to evaluate safety and robustness of the solutions. As per the programme requirements, both companies will have to each clock 100 hours of drone flights before submitting the proof of concept to DGCA.

Throttle Aerospace: It is looking to build drone based delivery solutions which can be scaled up in size and complexity. One of goal of company is to build a drone-based organ transport solution which could cut down the time of transporting organs from a few hours to a few minutes.

Dunzo: It is looking at drone deliveries to stand out among its bigger rivals like food delivery app Swiggy, Zomato which has expanded its services to include doorstep deliveries of items like groceries, medicines and flowers.