RattanIndia Enterprises Ltd. (“REL”) has made a strategic investment in US-based Matternet, an urban drone logistics platform.
With this investment, REL has made its way into the deep-tech Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry, which is set to transform logistics ecosystems worldwide.
Matternet was founded in 2011 by Andreas Raptopoulos, a global thought leader in the UAV industry and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Drones and Aerial Mobility Council.
Matternet provides best-in-class technology for on-demand, autonomous aerial delivery in urban environments and has garnered more revenue to date than any other UAV company from its operations in the US and Switzerland, the company said.
The company is looking forward to a paradigm shift in transportation and logistics by using emission-free drone technology to deliver items up to 2 kgs with precision over fixed routes over distances of 20 kms in a few minutes.
These flights are Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and Flight over People (FLOPS). All these deliveries are fully autonomous with remote monitoring from central control rooms. Globally, 80 percent of e-commerce parcels are under 2kgs, creating a large addressable market for Matternet UAV logistics platform.
Matternet currently provides its platform-as-a-service to companies in the fields of healthcare and logistics. Together with its partners Swiss Post, UPS and Japan Airlines (JAL), the company serves numerous hospitals and pharmacy chains such as CVS, WakeMed Hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Health, EOC Lugano and University of Zurich Hospital.
Matternet’s technology has been approved by government aviation regulators (equivalent to DGCA in India), has also been deployed commercially for urban deliveries in developed countries such as the US and Switzerland.
Matternet drones have flown more than 13,000 commercial revenue trips in the US and Switzerland.
Apart from healthcare services, UAVs have useful applications in areas such as e-commerce and food delivery. The precision of Matternet’s drone technology will prove to be extremely useful in developing countries like India, which have large urban agglomeration and ultra-high population density and congestion, making healthcare and e-commerce delivery by road time consuming and unreliable.
The Government of India realises the immense economic potential of the drone industry and took a major step toward opening the market when it released Draft Drone Rules on 15 July 2021. The rules are intended to ensure the ease of using drones in India based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring.”
Some key changes from the earlier Unmanned Aircraft System Rules released on 12 March 2021 include a reduction in the number of required approvals, a shift to faster and paperless approvals, simpler processes, no restrictions on drone operations of foreign-owned companies, a reduction in limits for operations from the airport perimeter, and a reduction in fees.
Furthermore, the government plans to establish “drone corridors” for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council to facilitate a drone-friendly regulatory regime, the company said.
“The partnership with Matternet is in line with our philosophy of investing in new-age cleantech companies with tremendous growth potential. We share the Government’s vision of Drone as a future tech, which opens new vistas of business opportunities,” said Anjali Rattan, Business Chairperson, RattanIndia Enterprises.
“We are witnessing an inflection point in urban drone delivery and are excited to partner with RattanIndia to explore opportunities in India,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet.
“India is a country with numerous densely populated and congested cities, an ideal scenario for Matternet drones to bring greater reach, reliability, and speed to healthcare and other everyday needs of the local population, while at the same time decreasing pollution and traffic,” added Raptopoulos.