Last year the US technology giant Amazon announced Prime Air, a project through which the company plans to deliver customer’s packages using drones. The company was hoping to get this project up and flying in the US air by 2015. But now an Economic Times report claims that the company is going to have India as the launch-pad for its Prime Air project instead, and it could happen “as early as Diwali (October 23rd)”

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While the project is yet to circumvent safety and several other hurdles, one of the biggest challenges for Amazon to begin drone delivery service  is approval from the US authorities (Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — which prohibit the use of drones for commercial purposes without its approval.

But why India?

The company is said to debut its drone delivery service with trials in Mumbai and Bangalore. Both the cities have warehouses of Amazon India. One of the reason why India is an interesting space for drones project lies in the fact that its rules and laws for flying drones are yet not clear. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the authority which monitors this space has not yet made any rules for drones.

“We don’t have any regulations for drones right now, but are in the process of preparing some rules. We are looking at regulations being developed in other countries for reference”,  he told Deccan Chronicle in June.

And at a steady rate, drones are becoming popular in the country. Many companies including rental and sale and real estate Housing.com has been using drones to get their clients a better view of what their apartments and nearby surrounding look like. Even Delhi Police and Indian Air Force have been using unmanned drones to serve people.

Flipkart factor

Country’s biggest e-commerce Flipkart has been aggressively expanding its business in the country. The company recently acquired apparel and clothing portal Myntra, and launched its own tablet (much like Amazon’s Kindle and Fire tablets), and recently raised $1 billion funding.

Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce wants to dominate in India as well. Upon learning Flipkart’s successful raise, the company announced that it will be investing $2 billion into Amazon India . If Amazon India starts delivering packages using drones, the company would stir a lot of attention and publicity.

With drones dropping packages at your doorstep, the company could reduce the shipping interval from days to a couple of hours. This would outpace Flipkart’s recent Flipkart First program under which it delivers a consumer’s package the next day of purchase– which is very similar to Amazon’s Prime subscription that sees one-day delivery.


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Author

Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.