It is hot afternoon in Chennai. I know, people roll their eyes and think – When do we have a cool afternoon in Chennai. I can understand. Regardless, the city street is buzzing with Delivery , eKart and Swiggy bike delivery boys jumping signals and delivering the goods to the customer. What caught my attention was the need for tasty food during lunch and evening snacks time and food delivery providers like Swiggy trying hard to cater the customer need. Saw a poster for Swiggy delivery boys with Bike for 25K a month salary. I felt, how does Swiggy make money, if they spend so much on delivery boys. With other benefits like insurance, healthcare, vehicle maintenance. It can not be scaled. Maybe, the logical version 2 of food delivery should be Drones.
They are cost effective and takes the aerial route as compared to already congested roads. 7 – 11 one of the big convenience shop in US leveraged Drones as a delivery mechanism for their baking products. The trial was a good success.
But, what works in other countries does it work in India. India has its own opportunities and impediments. Its infrastructure and usage are totally different than others. The major issue will be on the charging of the Drones. Having a constraint of making the drone always fully charged before any delivery can be tough. Also, having the Drones return to central station before going for another pickup may not be a viable option.
Google got a patent on leveraging power poles and street lights as a charging station. Looking at Chennai and if the Drone route takes on top of metro and electric train as route, it will be very easy to use charging station on top of each station. Leverage contact less charging similar to new phone versions will help in fast charging of the drones.
The above opens up two kind of business model, One on infrastructure to create drone charging stations, logistics and order providers (can be aggregators of delivery booking and onboarders). The other business model will be on Drone providers – who manufacture and provide this as either sale or Usage based.
Early adopters will see a big boost in getting a head way in the local distribution. This model will create new business on disbursement of highly perishable products, and those which require to maintain its freshness. Take an example of high end sea food restaurant having a fresh catch delivered before the rush comes in will allow for less wastage and remove the need for cold storage for managing inventory. Same can be said about mushroom and seaweed, where freshness delivery will add more value and reduce the need for preservative and inventory.
We are expecting huge growth in this area in coming years.