India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart is planning something out of ordinary to deliver packages to its cutomers in India. It wants to use drones to deliver goods to rural areas. The catch is that civilian drones are not allowed in India but the Bangalore-based company, which has grown to be a giant in just seven years since its founding, is expecting to convince the government because it helps remote parts of the country.
Notably, Flipkart’s biggest competitor and World’s leading e-commerce firm Amazon has already conceptualized the plan of delivering goods using flying Drones labelled “Amazon PrimeAir” taking a package from a distribution centre to a customer’s front yard.
What Amazon has been testing in the US are flying Drones which could deliver packages that weigh up to 2.3 kilograms and could fly within 16 kilometres of the company’s distribution centres. Whereas, Flipkart’s plan to use Drones to deliver goods are still in its very early-phase and no other deatails like – how much weight it can deliver in packages using drones and in how much area capacity it would deliver is not available.
“Also this is an integral part of the company’s vision as Flipkart sees itself more as a technology and engineering company with expertise in the supply chain”, said Binny Bansal, the company’s chief operating officer.
Last year in October, the government banned drones after private users like a pizza joint in Mumbai experimented with the unmanned airborn mini-vehicles. The Director General of Civil Aviation cited security threats to ban drones in Indian airspace.
Talking about Flipkart deliver system and logistics process, as many as 100,000 packages have to be sorted for delivery in as many as 200 towns, and optimising resources is a key problem to be solved. Flipkart, which has a staff of 33,000, uses geo-coding of packets and handheld computers to help its field staff operate faster and cheaper. It has a core technology team of 1,200 engineers.
All the while, Amazon has filed a patent application for drone delivery of goods and for Flipkart it would be a long path to travel to think beyond horizon and inculcate new technology like flying drones to deliver goods. As in country like India its always been difficult to convince political authorities and ministries to bring something new in India.
For ages India always been skeptical in adopting new techbologies and practices, be it cellphones or even computers.
All the while, Amazon has filed a patent application for drone delivery of goods.
[Top Image Credits – Midwest@Flickr]