Gurugram-based drone delivery startup TechEagle has partnered with Ethiopian ecommerce marketplace Addis Mercato to deliver healthcare products and essentials using drones in the African nation’s urban and suburban areas.
The partnership is the first commercial drone delivery service in Ethiopia, the companies said, and the inaugural test flights are likely to be conducted within the next three months.
The drones will have the capability of vertical take-off and landing and will be deployed in Zone 5 of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The initial route being considered will be 14 kilometres long between Addis Mercato’s warehouse and customer residences.
“This new last-mile drone logistics solution will create new opportunities for implementing innovative solutions that can continuously drive growth with greater efficiency, sustainability and less cost,” said Abiy Selassie, CEO of Addis Mercato.
The drone delivery network is currently awaiting regulatory clearances with commercial flights scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2021.TechEagle is also the founding partner in one of the 13 consortia that have received India’s civil aviation regulator’s approval to conduct experimental beyond visual line of sight drone flights. The programme is expected to kick off later this month, after clearances from the Union home ministry.
Food delivery app Zomato had acquired TechEagle for an undisclosed sum in December 2018, but parted ways with the startup earlier this year citing non-alignment of future goals. TechEagle has been operating as an independent entity since then.
TechEagle said the on-demand drone logistics network will enable delivery of goods four times faster and at half the cost, and will have a zero-carbon footprint. “This solution would save human lives with faster delivery response time in emergency situations. While building the ecosystem, we believe in empowering the local youth with skill development, training and by creating new job opportunities,” said Vikram Singh Meena, founder of TechEagle.