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Use of Drones to Deliver food is Prohibited: Civil Aviation Ministry


Imagine that you are in office, working late at night, hungry, and you ordered food. You are waiting for the delivery boy to come and a drone comes and delivers food to you! It will be a tech-savvy experience! Right!

Delivering food through drones is a unique and novel concept. It is cost-effective, it will provide on-time delivery, and the customer will get a unique experience. But the other side of drones is that they can't carry too much weight in one go, and if there is any technical failure, there is no one to take care of it.

Don’t worry! In India, one is not going to see food delivered by drone in the near future as the ministry of civil aviation, Government of India has made regulations for the operation of drones in India that will allow the commercial application of various drone technologies in India. Ministry said in a statement that India had formulated an all-digital process to smoothen the operation of such drones. However, food delivery is still a distant dream.

The statements read, “The use of drones will be permitted in sectors like agriculture, health and disaster relief, under new regulations which shall come into force from 1 December, but the delivery of payload, including food items, will not be permitted as of now.”

There are reports that some firms choose drones to deliver the food. In the United States, Uber has decided to test food delivery through drones; in China, Alibaba’s meal arm was reportedly cleared to deliver food through drones over Shanghai.

However, food business operators (FBOs) in India were cautious about the food delivery service through drones and suggested that it would need time before the application of this technology to deliver the food safely was perfected. As it has its side effects too, drones cannot carry too much weight, and there can be any technical errors also.

But on the other side, some restaurant owners believe that the government should allow food delivery through drones. If this is in place in the estimated time, it will be a boon for people in every sense. The delivery speed will reach its peak, and the patrons won’t have to wait for their food being stuck in traffic. Automation will replace the old cycle, which requires a lot of effort and time.

The government said, “While drones can be used for agricultural purposes, they cannot be used for spraying pesticides until specifically cleared.” Further, the carriage of explosives, animals and human payload are not allowed.

Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu stated, “Based on the traffic system, the Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements no permission, no take-off (NPNT). Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners. For every flight, users will be required to ask for permission to fly via a mobile app, while an automated process will permit or deny the request instantly. However, this is exempted for the nano category.” 

To prevent unauthorised flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to take off. As per the regulation, there are five categories of remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS) categorised by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.

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