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Zomato partners Vodafone-Idea to conduct trial for BVLOS drones


Online food delivery major Zomato has entered into a partnership with Vodafone-Idea to conduct the experimental flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones. The development has come days after Zomato had called off the acquisition deal with TechEagle.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had invited selected companies for trial in the first week of July. It had shortlisted 13 consortia which received the nod for a preliminary experiment. Both Zomato and Tech Eagle come under the umbrella of the ClearSky consortium. 

Medianama reported the development first. Vodafone-Idea would provide LTE (long term evolution) support to TechEagle’s drones. The drones will be powered with Vodafone Idea SIM that would help to collect relevant data for future optimization.

DGCA has shown a keen intent in the past year to see the feasibility of deliveries by drones. Dunzo, Throttle Aerospace Systems, Swiggy, ShopX, Spicexpress, Zipline, Redwing, and ClearSky Flight are also in the list of companies that have received approvals from DGCA. 

These companies are mandated to complete a minimum of 100 hours of flight time in airspace designated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) by September 2020.

Zomato had tested its first drone delivery with a fusion of rotary-wing and fixed-wing in June last year. It successfully covered a distance of 5 km carrying a payload of 5 kgs in 10 minutes at that time. However, the experiment was done when TechEagle was a part of the Alibaba-backed company.

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