Bengaluru-based hyperlocal delivery platform Dunzo has partnered with the government of Telangana, a South Indian state, to use drones on an experimental basis for the delivery of medical supplies that could include COVID-19 vaccines.
Google-backed Dunzo is one of the few companies that got approval from the director general of civil aviation last year to test beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones for deliveries. It is unclear when drone delivery will start as the company is still waiting for a go-ahead from the local authorities on a final timeline.
“Dunzo Digital is leading a med-air consortium along with industry experts to conduct experimental BVLOS drone delivery flights for the ‘Medicine from the Sky Project,’” the company said in a statement.
The state government has partnered with the World Economic Forum to leverage the Indian government’s recent regulation policies that allow low-altitude airspace for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. The drone delivery system will focus on an end-to-end ecosystem for drone-based logistic transportation and utilize the existing logistics network of the state.
“As our delivery partners continue to keep our cities safe on the ground, we are working round the clock to meet the urgency of the demand for essentials. Using technology, we can now ensure that no matter where people live, life-saving essentials can and should reach them. We appreciate the government of Telangana’s recognition of the role technology can play in today’s world to build safer cities,” said Kabeer Biswas, CEO and founder of Dunzo Digital.
Started in 2014, Dunzo operates in eight cities where it delivers a gamut of products such as medicines, grocery, and food. Apart from this, it also runs a personal pick and drop service for its users.
As India reels with the second wave of COVID-19 with a few states under lockdown, there has been a surge in the usage of food, medicine, and grocery delivery apps such as Dunzo, Zomato, Swiggy, 1mg, PharmEasy, BigBasket, and Grofers, among others.
Dunzo claimed to have 350% growth in medicine orders on its app since January 2021. Between March and May this year, Dunzo facilitated the delivery of over 20,000 orders to hospitals. Its pick and drop service also saw a jump of 204% as people used the platform to send home-cooked meals, oximeters, and other medical aid to home quarantined patients.
Dunzo competes with food delivery platform Swiggy that last year, started its own pick and drop service in multiple cities.