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Aerospace Technology Journal
Posted on June 17, 2021 by  & 

First End to End BVLOS Drone Delivery Trials in India

ANRA Technologies Private Limited, a leader in integrated airspace management, and Swiggy, India's leading on-demand delivery platform, today announced that stakeholders from the India Ministry of Defense (MoD), Directorate General of Aviation (DGCA), and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA), awarded final clearances for the ANRA Technologies led consortia to commence trials for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in India.
Months of planning, risk assessments, air traffic control integration, training, equipment preparation, and coordination culminated with ANRA's flight team launching its first sortie on June 16, 2021. For the next several weeks, the flight team will conduct BVLOS food and medical package deliveries in the Etah and Rupnagar districts using ANRA SmartSkies technology. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Drone Market and Industries 2021-2041.
Out of the selected participants in the program, ANRA is the only UAS technology provider approved by the Government of India MOCA to lead two consortia as part of this pioneering initiative. One consortium consists of ANRA, along with their partners Swiggy, renowned Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, and BetterDrones, a drone service provider which will focus on food delivery. The second consortium includes ANRA and Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, and will focus on medical deliveries.
The BVLOS delivery operations are enabled by ANRA SmartSkies CTR and SmartSkies DELIVERY platforms. A coordinated, scalable, and highly adaptable family of software services, SmartSkies provides execution and management of drone operations in controlled and uncontrolled airspace, ensuring the safety of the Indian National Airspace and seamless integration into the country's legacy Air Traffic Control systems.
"As a pioneer in investing in technology and logistics with a dedicated delivery fleet, Swiggy has built a robust presence in hyperlocal delivery moving beyond food to offer convenience to consumers. With an increasing number of technological innovations taking place to smoothen and fasten the last mile journey, it only becomes natural for us to explore the latest avenues available to maximize the benefit to our consumers. We are excited about the potential that Drones offer and look forward to the trials on BVLOS operations for the use case of food delivery. Through our association with ANRA, we aim to put the long-range proficiencies of drone technology to best use and accomplish some ground-breaking trials," said Shilpa Gnaneshwar, Principal Program Manager, Swiggy.
ANRA Technologies and its partners intend to leverage gathered data and key learnings from the flights to support the development of India's nationwide operational UAS Traffic Management (UTM) platform called Digital Sky. The outcomes will enable industry, government, and regulatory stakeholders to determine the necessity to support interaction and data exchange between UTM services suppliers while assessing the suitability and applicability of existing technology capabilities.
"IIT Ropar is proud to be associated with the initiative taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), India, which has granted permission to operate drones for BVLOS operations in the country. IIT Ropar will partner with ANRA Technologies leading two consortia aimed at package delivery. The recent COVID 19 has shown that remote and unmanned delivery of essential items can not only be a usual business proposition but can be a life-saving endeavor aimed at restricting infections under such emergencies. IIT Ropar has already started efforts in this direction. I'm sure the present collaboration will bring out products and services of significant business and social impact," stated Prof. S S Padhee, Head, Corporate Relation Cell, IIT Ropar.
"The Better Drones team is excited about this upcoming opportunity, the team is ready to perform their best to make sure that in the near future we all can utilise this breakthrough technology for multiple purposes. We look forward to using our best endeavours to make sure that we will succeed in this challenge with flying colours," said Kanav Kumar, Director, Better Drones
Additionally, the consortia will seek to understand any trade-offs between interoperability and open implementations and specific technical integration requirements for functionality while determining acceptable performance envelopes for latency, reliability, availability times, and 'near real-time' aspects of communications. It will also seek to establish how other key emerging standards, including Remote-ID and Detect and Avoid (DAA), may be integrated as part of an overall Digital Sky UTM framework.
India is looking at the operations to fast-track its policies and prepare the local industry for a significant push into the drone services segment globally. ANRA is honored to lead the consortium in conducting flight operations with our partners to develop India's drone program with innovative thought leadership and global experience.
Source and top image: ANRA Technologies
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