The highly anticipated drones which are octocopters, helicopter with 8 rotors, are to deliver packages to any location in as little as 30 minutes. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the plan way back in December 2013.
Initially planned to be used in the USA, the plan hit roadblocks due to the injunctions in the USA. Presently commercial drones are prohibited to fly in the USA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to remove it only by early 2016. India, without having any such laws, is thus a potential test market for Amazon.
Amazon have their warehouses in the busiest Indian metro cities, Mumbai and Bangalore, and the tests are expected to start in those two cities. The Indian new year celebration, Diwali, which is on October 24th this year, has been pinned down as the launch time. With Indians spending a lot in shopping during Diwali, Amazon might just hit the nail on its head.
Although sending heavy packages, for example a printer, will not be possible initially, expect your favourite mobile to reach you in 3 hours, at maximum.
However, The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the governing body of such matters in India, isn’t aware of any such plans from Amazon. Moreover, the existing drone operators in India said that they never obtained any permission from anybody to fly these things. According to the Economic Times of India, the company said that it “does not comment on what we may or may not do in the future”.
Whether these rumours are real or not, they definitely have plans in India, as Amazon seems to be taking Flipkart head on. Flipkart is the present leader in Indian e-commerce and has raised $1 billion USD to further increase its operations. Amazon has declared to invest $2 billion USD to counter that effort from Flipkart. With Flipkart having its own delivery system instead of third party cargo handlers, this move from Amazon is expected to counter that effect as well.
Being an Indian and after living my life here, I do have a concern about this plan though. Amazon, this is India, once your drones start receiving attention, I am sure that there will be lots of untoward attention as well. These drones are costly and losing them will incur heavy loss for Amazon.
We will know more come Diwali.