Why might Amazon be sending its drones to India?

Why would Amazon test its delivery drones in India? Duh! Because India apparently isn’t all hung up on those pesky government regulations over commercial drone use like our country is.

Delivery of goods by UAVs, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, is something Amazon’s reportedly been working on for months now. And while the idea seems all science-fictiony, a lot of people in and out of Amazon really believe that drones would make an ideal vehicle for moving large numbers of packages up and over things like, uh, bumper-to-bumper traffic. You know: that stuff plaguing both us and India these days as our respective tech booms keep booming.

But as Amazon and a gazillion other companies and individuals in the United States grow impatient as agencies in Washington governing air space slowly ponder ways to regulate an about-to-explode UAV-driven world, a report in Economic Times quotes “two people aware of the development” claiming the Seattle-based online retailer will soon test out its drone-delivery system in India, where they more easily get away with it!

 

The US-based e-tailer will debut its drone delivery service with trials in Mumbai and Bangalore, cities where it has warehouses, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Amazon said in a statement that it does “not comment on what we may or may not do in the future”. Amazon’s Prime Air is an octocopter, a drone fitted with eight rotors. Most recently, Amazon had said it is developing vehicles that weigh less than 25 kg and travel at over 80 kmph. The drone will carry a payload of up to 2.26 kg, which covers 86% of products sold on Amazon.

 

Apparently, officials in India are pretty laid back about the use of drones over its skies.

India¬†is an attractive test bed for Amazon because the country still hasn’t woken up to the need for rules that will govern the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In the US, on the other hand, companies such as Amazon are not allowed to fly drones outdoors.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said it was not aware of any such plan by Amazon. Drone operators in India said they don’t obtain permits from DGCA for purposes such as aerial photography, surveying sites and wildlife protection.

Credit: Getty Images

Patrick May Patrick May (325 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.