As drone use across sectors has been increasing rapidly, coupled with the government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage manufacturing unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs), India could become a serious global player in this sector, where China has been the leader, said Garuda Aerospace founder and CEO, Agnishwar Jayaprakash.
The company is looking to raise $40-50 million in 2024 in a pre-IPO round after raising $22 million and recently announcing cricketer MS Dhoni as its ambassador.
Currently Garuda Aerospace offers 30 different types of drones across agriculture, videography, project monitoring and surveillance and more than 50 types of services. It is aiming to sell at least one lakh drones in the next two years in the agriculture and consumer segment. The company, Mr. Jayaprakash said, has a 55% market share in the agriculture drone sector.
The company’s Drone Yatra, which allows hourly rentals of drones has also helped it grow. Its revenues was ₹47 crore last financial year and is projected to more than double to ₹120 crore this fiscal., the CEO said.
The company had received a dual certification from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for manufacture and training of drone pilots. “India has around 50,000 to 60,000 registered drone pilots, said Mr. Jayaprakash. He said, “the recent Drone (Amendment) Rules 2023 that allows anyone with a valid government issued identity proof and address to enlist to become a drone pilot would further boost this number”.
Garuda Aerospace has tied up with the Lockheed Martin, Cognizant, Amazon Web Services and has entered into agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, and BEML Ltd for joint manufacturing of drones to run an asset light model for better profitability, Mr. Jayaprakash added.
Following a subsidy the company received under the Tamil Nadu Government’s Agricultural Mechanisation Scheme, the CEO believes it would revolutionise India’s agriculture ecosystem by enhancing crop productivity through use of drones.
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