Reliance Industries to launch drones for upcoming business – unveils plans to tap into the billion-dollar industry of India

With a target to become a key player in the expected $5 billion markets in India by the end of the decade, Reliance Industries has charted, what can be termed as an aggressive plan, to build its drone business which includes expanding manufacturing capacity five-fold, participating in the new drone production linked incentive scheme, and experimenting with limited logistics payloads to deliver goods.

The Company is collaborating with a Bangalore-based start up- Asteria Aerospace, which also happens to be a subsidiary of Jio Platforms Ltd.

In the next two years, we expect the global drone market (excluding large military drones) will be $20 billion and the Indian market will be around $1 billion, up from the current $200 million, which will be about 4-5 per cent of the global pie. This will go up to $5 billion by the end of the decade. We plan to get a significant share of this market.

Neel Mehta, co-founder of Asteria
Neel Mehta (right) | Representative | The Weekly Trends

According to Mehta, with the government giving the necessary push to drone operations by lifting former bans, the ratio between military and commercial drones is expected to flip from 70:30 to 30:70 within the next two years.

Figuratively, that translates to over 50,000-60,000 commercial drones in the skies, all of which is expected to happen within two years in the country.

Additionally, the company is also planning to expand its capacity in the Bangalore plant from 2,000 per annum to 10,000 drones in the days to come.

That said, the drone hardware will account for only 30 per cent of its revenues while a major share of its income would be from providing end-to-end solutions for companies that encompass managing and running the drone, collecting data and analysing it, and offering the service on a single platform to the client.

Reportedly, Asteria will also participate in the drone Production Linked Incentive (PLI), announced by the government with a grant of Rs 120 crore to incentivise the sector.

We will surely take advantage of the PLI scheme and our assessment is that the Rs 120 crore will be used up in just two years

 said Mehta

In his words, drones have facilitated the maintenance of telecom towers and have also helped in the survey of new tower locations. However, he further states,  it will take another five to six years for commercial drone operations to materialize, owing to various regulations and certifications.

We don’t see regulation enabling it soon, as this means new ways of traffic management and resolving various safety concerns. And you cannot have so many drones in the sky

he said

Apparently. there are innumerable opportunities in logistics where drones are deployed in mountainous terrains were moving goods by road is time-consuming, and also healthcare drones with payloads of 5-10 kilos transport critical medicines from one place to another.

Representative | Bloomberg Quint

Currently, what you have are military drones which cost $100 million for transportation logistics

Says Mehta

Asteria’s drones have localisation levels for manufacturing of 60-65 per cent.


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