Zomato recently acquired Lucknow-based TechEagle Innovations for integrating drones with food delivery. After the acquisition of WOTU and launch of HyperPure, this is the third major step of the food ordering app in 2018. Interestingly, the former was founded by IIT Delhi alumni duo while latter is the brainchild of an IIT Kanpur graduate.
Founded in 2015 by Vikram Singh Meena, TechEagle is dedicated to building drones. The primary objective is to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) with the ability to carry approximately 5kg payload. Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato said, “We are currently at the early stage of aerial innovations and are taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.”
As the future is expected to have technology as its nucleus, it is imperative that companies start taking necessary measures from today. “We believe that robots powering the last-mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us,” added the IIT Delhi alumni.
Drone market is expected to cross Rs 6,000 crore mark by 2021 and yet, it is a near-foreign concept for India. For instance, currently, the use of drone is restricted to daylight only. Though its national policy was formulated last year, multiple queries remain unaddressed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Another hurdle is the cost of an individual drone. Though Zomato’s food delivery sector generates almost 65% of the company’s revenue (increase by 35% from January to December), drone prices vary from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh. This will be a careful tread for Zomato since a delivery associate is paid almost Rs 20,000 every month, but long-term drone applications would minimize the fuel costs of the company.
Experts state that Zomato has pulled off a brave move, but its success would depend on the workforce. Considering the nature of drone operations, the demand is expected to outclass the supply. With the development of such drones in the pipeline, a major breakthrough is expected from the parent company in the next five years.