Drones designed to deliver orders placed through the Swiggy food aggregator app are now being used to deliver essential supplies such as food, water and medicine to flood-affected people.
These surveillance and delivery drones designed and developed by the country’s largest drone startup, Garuda Aerospace, are currently deployed in Vadodara in Gujarat and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh to complement the relief and rescue efforts of the teams. of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) deployed amid the raging floods in these states.
Five drones each are used for this purpose in Vadodara and Guntur districts. A few weeks earlier, the company had been requisitioned by the NDRF for a similar role in Assam. At that time, Garuda had fielded 15 drones in different parts of the state.
“Compared to helicopters, drones are faster, more accessible, cheaper to operate and capable of performing multiple sorties. Also, unlike helicopters, too many clearances are not required for their operation,” said the CEO of Garuda Aerospace, Agnishwar Jayaprakash at Business Today.
The drones are used to transport up to 20 kilos of payloads to flood victims.
“Their ability to operate in all weather conditions adds to their versatility,” noted Jayaprakash.
Garuda Aerospace has been NDRF’s preferred drone partner since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The company’s drones were also used extensively during the Chamoli Glacier burst in Uttarakhand last year.
In the aftermath of the Chamoli disaster, the company’s drone services were also used to repair power lines destroyed in flash floods caused by an avalanche.
“Equipped with 300 drones and over 500 pilots present across India, we are capable of responding to any type of emergency,” Agnishwar said.
Founded in 2015, the company is closing a $30 million Series A funding round at a $250 million valuation. Former Indian cricket team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also invested in the startup and also became its brand ambassador.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is promoting the nation’s nascent drone sector to become a $30 billion industry by 2030. On June 6, the ministry released the second draft list of recipients in under the Government’s flagship Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program for the sector.