Want to capture images and data in remote areas? Think drones. Want some form of a delivery done? Think drones. The Indian government’s policy regulatory framework for drone usage is yet to frozen, but that has not stopped startups from looking at using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in our day-to-day lives. Enter Redwing Aerospace, a Bengaluru-based drone delivery startup; that isn’t looking at drones for the delivery of food or e-commerce. It aims for a deeper use-case perspective.
“Logistics is about getting something from point A to point B. Drones let you do that much faster. So why not use them for something that can solve a real problem?” asks Anshul Sharma, Co-founder, and CEO, Redwing Aerospace, which sits out of the Work Galaxy space in Bengaluru. The reason they chose to work out of Work was that the community team of They Work maintains a great culture and helps members collaborate with each other; says Anshul. When Anshul, an ex-NTU Singapore Researcher, had the idea, he immediately contacted two friends from his Manipal Institute of Technology days – Rishabh Gupta and Arunabha Bhattacharya.
The projects by NASA
The trio had always been interested in drones. While at college, they participated and won several projects by NASA, Airbus, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. Work, nevertheless, took them to different places. Arunabha is a former officer on Special Duty at National Technical Research Officer (NTRO); in Chhatisgarh, while Rishabh worked as an insurance surveyor. The delivery works on a hub-and-spoke model. The team gets a message on the inventory needed.
This is loaded at the central hub; and the drones take off, after the regular pre-flight tests and checks of wind conditions; audio pilot systems, and GPS tracker. The coordinates are fed into the systems and the health examiner picks up the vials at the drop-off point.
The drone tech
Therefore India’s drone policy as of now necessitates UAVs to be in the line of sight; which is why Redwing cannot operate here. However, the team hopes that the regulations will soon change in their favor. Be it agriculture, surveying, surveillance, or traffic monitoring, drone tech is here to stay. India has over 35 drone-based startups, but only two of them IdeaForge and Aarav Unmanned Systems have managed to scale up beyond Rs 4 crore.
Of the 35 startups, only five are generating more than Rs 20 lakh; the rest are registered but have no revenues to show. However, the Redwing team believes if you give value, “there will money”. “They have done close to 10 paid deliveries,” Rishabh says. The team is looking for more tie-ups to work on deliveries and is in the process of working with 10 countries; like Panama, Africa and few others where some regions are remote and accessibility is a problem.