Amazon is reportedly planning to make India the launch-pad for delivering packages using drones. The retailer is expected to debut its drone delivery service in Mumbai and Bangalore first where it has its warehouses.
Amazon showcased its Prime Air drone last year in December and now the company appears to be keen on making headway. Amazon's Prime Air is an octocopter, a drone fitted with eight rotors. Amazon also added that it is developing vehicles that weigh less than 25 kg and travel at over 80 kmph. The company stated that the drone could carry packages upto 2.26 kg, which covers 86% of products sold on Amazon.
"It could be as early as Diwali," said one of the sources. Amazon said in a statement that it does "not comment on what we may or may not do in the future".
If Amazon's plans succeed, they will help the Seattle-based retailer to gain the top spot in India's online retail market which is expected to reach Rs 50,000 crore by 2016, according to a recent Crisil report.
However, there has been a controversy regarding drone deliveries in India due to unclear rules. Recently, Mumbai’s Francesco Pizzeria used an unmanned aerial drone to deliver a pizza to one of its customers on May 11. The customer lived about 1.5 kms away from the pizzeria outlet in a high rise building and received the pizza from the drone in less time than it would take a delivery person. However, the pizza outlet received complaint from Mumbai police a few days later stating why they didn’t take permission from them prior to using drones. Police officials added that drone usage is not permitted due to security issues without due investigation.
Last month, 4 persons were detained as they were using a drone to video-shoot Ganga Aarti in Varanasi. Police was monitoring the area as PM Narendra Modi had given a speech after his election win from the holy city.
Prabhat Kumar, the director general of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had recently stated, “We don’t have any regulations for drones right now, but are in the process of preparing some rules. We are looking at regulations being developed in other countries for reference.”