Food-delivery startup Zomato has acquired Lucknow-based drone startup TechEagle Innovations. TechEagle was founded by Vikram Singh Meena, an IIT Kanpur alumnus and manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles with a focus on custom-made drones capable of carrying up to 5 kgs of payload.
The details of the deals have not been disclosed by either of the two companies. However, the acquisition is speculated to help Zomato adapt Amazon-like drone-based product delivery in India. The food tech firm is focused on to create a hub-to-hub delivery network powered by hybrid unmanned aerial drones.
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. Our first ‘delivery job’ currently is to design multi-rotor drones that can pick up a payload under 5 kg and set up drone delivery circuits for reducing the last mile delivery leg. 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.”
For the past few years, there had not been any technological conversations about food tech players in India. They remained in the stories only for offering huge discounts and grabbing large chunks of venture money. However, Zomato’s latest development may open up a whole new chapter for food tech businesses in India. And with the announcement of India’s drone policy, startups like Swiggy and Uber Eats may also enter into the drone delivery sector to compete with Zomato.
International startups like Amazon has already adopted drone deliveries. Last year, Amazon had completed its first every delivery by a drone managing to deliver the product within 13 minutes after the order was placed. Another Silicon Valley-based startup DoorDash has already partnered with a six-wheeled delivery robot to deliver food to its customers. The unmanned vehicle picks up food, navigate through streets and deliver the order to the customers.
Drone delivery in India is still in its early days and no major startup is fully operational anywhere in the world. However, if Zomato could be a little fast with the trial, India could become the first country to achieve the mark. With a huge food tech market and large sums of venture capital flowing in India, drone deliveries can be seen within a few years. Drone deliveries can help curb Indian traffic issues by eliminating thousands of delivery scooters and motorcycles.