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Eyes in the Sky: How Drones Are Used Efficiently & Productively In Different Sectors In India

The potential impact and drawbacks of drones in different sectors in India

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28 Sep '23
6 min read


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There is a roar in the Indian Sky, and it's not just the aircraft passing by – These are drones.

Yes! You heard that right. Not just worldwide, but even in India, drones have taken to the sky and are revolutionizing different industries.

From the military to mining and agriculture to aerial photography, these unarmed vehicles are reshaping the way businesses operate. The Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) initially developed and used drones. Today, drone technology has become increasingly popular among industries looking to increase productivity, security, and efficiency.

According to the latest report by EY-FICCI, titled Making India the drone hub of the world, India's drone industry manufacturing potential is estimated to be approximately $23 Billion by 2030.

 

As of September 2023, there are about 271 drone start-ups in India. India has seen an increase in drone start-ups by 34% between August 2021 and February 2022.

In July 2023, Nexgen Exhibitions organized the Drone International Expo 2023 in New Delhi with the aim of supporting India’s vision to become the “Drone Hub of the World.” The expo presented a comprehensive array of Drones, anti-drone systems, drone components, and more. 

Drone Shakthi 2023

Likewise, in September 2023, The Indian Air Force, in collaboration with the Drone Federation of India co-hosted the Bharat Drone Shakti. The event was hosted at Hindon Air Base, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, featuring an impressive lineup of over 50 aerial demonstrations.

During this event, participants demonstrated a diverse range of drone applications, including survey drones, agriculture drones, fire suppression drones, tactical surveillance drones, heavy-lift logistics drones, drone swarms, and counter-drone solutions.

Drone technology in different sectors:

In this article, let's see the efficient uses and assess the potential impacts of drone technology in a few industrial areas.

Agriculture: 

Drones in the Agricultural Sector

Agriculture is one of those industries that has benefited significantly from drone technology. Drones equipped with monitors and sensors can help collect data on crop health, soil quality, and other related activities like spraying pesticides and fertilizers more efficiently, estimations, irrigation planning, and more. Additionally, drones help monitor the movement of livestock and help farmers prevent mishaps.

Drones for spraying pesticides.

In February 2022, PM Narendra Modi flagged 100 Kisan Drones for spraying pesticides over farms in several parts of the country.

The potential impact of drone technology in the field of agriculture:

  • Drones can also help farmers increase crop yield and cut costs, increasing profits.
  • They can cover large areas of land in a shorter period of time. Hence, farmers can gather data and monitor crops efficiently.
  • Drones help identify the areas of farms that require attention, thereby reducing manual labor. By addressing the issue, farmers can improve their crop yield.

While drones have these potential impacts, there are limitations as well. 

  • Many farmers cannot invest in drone technology as it may be costly.
  • Not every farmer has the knowledge or training essential to operate a drone effectively.
  • Farmers are concerned that adopting drone technology can lead to job loss as less workforce is involved.

However, the New World Forum Economic Report says Drone technology can create a $100bn GDP boost and at least 50,000 Jobs in India with support from emerging business models such as digital financing, precision agriculture, and rapid awareness-building.

Construction: 

Drones in the construction industry

According to the Flying High’ 2018 report, the construction industry is the fastest-growing adopter of commercial drones. The construction industry will soon employ 2.5 lakh drone operators for various activities in the coming years. Drones equipped with a camera capture high-resolution images of the construction sites. These can provide valuable insights for safety, precise planning, generating 3D maps, and quality control. The construction industry can also use drones to inspect hard-to-reach areas and identify if there are any potential issues. 

The potential impact of commercial drones in the construction industry:

  • The construction industry can save time and money by optimizing schedules and improving safety with the help of commercial drones.
  • Rather than walking around and surveying a construction site, drones can provide high-accuracy survey-grade data in less time.
  • Commercial drones can provide accurate material estimates, saving time and money. 
  • Drones can monitor the progress of construction sites through visual updates on project activities, tracking, and evaluation, enhancing safety and improving efficiency.  

The downsides of drones in the construction sector:

  • Wind and dust are no friends of drones. You cannot monitor the progress if your construction site is full of dust or fog.
  • Filming in bad weather conditions like heavy rain and snowfall is impossible with drones. It will also be impossible to fly them at night.

Defence sector:

Drone technology in the Defense sector

Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, and other armed forces are on overdrive and are buying drones in hordes. These drones can help in monitoring critical regions, computer-assisted attacks, communication, inspections, delivery of arms, and much more. With around 271 drone start-ups in the country, a few well-known start-ups like Ideaforge, NewSpace, and Raphe mPhibr have delivered drones for the military.

Drones by IdeaForge

According to a news article, IdeaForge delivered 200 SWITCH 1.0 UAVs known for long-range and high-endurance surveillance to the Indian Army in 2021 and 2022.

The potential impact of drones in the defense sector:

  • Drones provide better reconnaissance, surveillance, and target position.
  • In terms of price and maintenance, drones are cheaper than conventional aircraft.
  • They are faster and easier to operate and deploy.
  • As drones are unpiloted, it reduces pilot injury.
  • Drones provide real-time video and other data so the military can gain a deeper insight into the battlefield and target position.

Logistics:

Drones for logistics purposes

Logistic drones in India are shaping the defense sector. The military substantially began using logistic drones in the years 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver various supplies to troops. The drones used for logistics purposes can carry loads between 5 and 40 kg.

Recently, Dhaksha Unmanned System received an order to deliver 200 medium-altitude logistics drones to the Indian Army.

Raphe mPhibr mR 20 Logistics drones

Likewise, the Noida-based start-up Raphe mPhibr received two separate orders from the Army - 48 mR-20 logistics drones capable of ferrying loads up to 20 kg in high-altitude areas for the infantry and 100 quadcopter drones for the Armoured Corps. 

Bottomline: The drone market in India is rapidly increasing and reaching new heights. Although there are several challenges, they offer valuable insights and prove efficiency and safety. These challenges provided by the drone industry are propelling India towards better growth. As drone technology flourishes, it can shape several industries with innovative applications and a broader range of benefits in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Which sectors are using drone technology in India?

The agricultural, defense, and logistics sectors use drone technology in India.

2. Which company is the largest drone maker in India?

IdeaForge is the largest drone maker in India.

3. What is the ranking of India in drone technology?

India ranks fourth in drone technology. 

4. Are drones used in the construction sector in India?

No. The construction sector in India does not use drone technology, but steps are taken to implement them steadily. 

5. Which are the top drone stocks to invest in India?

Info Edge (India), Droneacharya Aerial Innovations, Paras Defence & Space Technologies, Zen Technologies, RattanIndia Enterprises, and DCM Shriram Industries are a few top drone stocks investors can consider. 

Category : Technology


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Written by A V