In a recently concluded technology conference Startup Asia in Jakarta, Garuda, which allows its customers to use drones for their business activities, emerged as the winner, standing out from 7 other companies. Garuda walked away from the conference with a US$10,000 cash prize.
Based in Singapore, Garuda allows businesses to deliver items such as food, parcels, and medical supplies from one place to the other. According to its website description, “Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are getting dramatically cheaper and more capable, and we are fast approaching the day when fleets of UAVs are deployed for disaster first response, package delivery, and many other domains. At Garuda Robotics, we are building integrated hardware and software systems to enable the coming wave of UAV applications and services.”
Businesses and users can also easily operate and monitor the drones from their web browser using the Garuda control panel:
Garuda is already in talks with potential clients to conduct trials. While a wide range of applications are possible, the company is zoning in on a few: surveillance of oil and gas infrastructure, search and rescue operations, and support for civil defense operations. Garuda’s services are available for a six-figure price and a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Terence Lee, editor at technology blog Tech In Asia, noted that in the United States, while people can do what they want with drones if it’s their private property, the same cannot be said for parcel delivery and logistics, which involve traversing over common terrain. Many drone companies have received cease and desist letters from the Federal Aviation Administration for their activities. In Singapore and parts of China, however, drones are perfectly legal as long as it’s below a certain altitude.
Other than surveillance, search and rescue operations, support for civil defense operations, drones are also being used for parcel delivery: Zookal, Australia’s student textbook rental site, has recently announced a partnership with commercial drone service Flirtey to provide a unique parcel delivery solution to support its textbook dispatch.
Looks like soon we will see drones hovering around our neighbourhood.