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Are drones a solution to India’s long-haul deliveries woes?




India is a country set to soon become the most populated in the world.

As they fast approach 1.4 billion people, the ability for the nation to efficiently move goods from region to region is vitally important.

Problem is – many of India’s roads are outdated and hopelessly congested. That means that trucks carrying goods often take much longer than they should to reach their destination. The slow movement of goods has frustrated many companies to the point they are rallying for delivery companies to increase their aerial shipping capacity and that may include drones.

An example of congestion in India. While it’s hard to generalize about such a large country – traffic is a common problem

India’s high temperatures, heavy traffic and common poor quality roads mean that most trucks cannot carry goods distances greater than 155 miles (250 km). Two Bulgarian brothers, Svilen and Konstantin Rangelov, however may have the answer. This year, their company Dronamics finished a prototype of the first aircraft produced in Bulgaria in 70 years, the Black Swan. The Swan is a fixed-wing drone, capable of carrying loads of up to 800 pounds (362 kg) distances of up to 1550 miles (2500 km).

You may be thinking – ‘Well 800 pounds is great and all but that’s hardly going to replace trucks carrying tons of gear, is it?’ You are right. The Black Swan is specifically designed to carry gear that would normally be in a small delivery vans, particularly stuff like computer components or medical supplies that may need to get somewhere rather quickly and simply can’t sit in traffic for long periods of time. If a fleet of Black Swans were launched for a particular company, the efficiency of the goods delivery would increase significantly.

Part of the beauty of the company design of the Black Swan is it needs only a small runway to takeoff, uses a single propeller and is powered by a petrol engine. According to The Drive the decision to go with a standard engine, rather something high-tech and electrical was due to practical considerations. The Rangelov brothers are specifically targeting developing countries and therefore decided to go with an engine that locals would know how to repair anywhere the Swan operates in the world.

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