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Is Zomato seriously looking for a drone-based hub-to-hub delivery angle ? From the acquisition it has just made, pretty much seems like that. The company is setting up the stage to soon start drone-based food delivery service. And to cement those plans, it has announced the acquisition of a little known -Lucknow-based TechEagle Innovations — a company that works on delivery drones — for an undisclosed amount.

TechEagle, founded in 2015, works exclusively on drones with a prime focus on custom-made drones capable of carrying up to 5 kg payloads. The startup will now help Zomato in creating a hub-to-hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.

The development comes after the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) recently legalized flying commercial drones and also announced a policy called Drone Regulations 1.0. While the guidelines banned the use of drones for delivery of goods and food, Minister of state for civil aviation hinted at including a clause on the application of drones for e-commerce and food delivery in the draft Drone Regulations 2.0.

Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO of Zomato, said,

Our first ‘delivery job’ currently is to design multi-rotor drones that can pick up a payload under 5 kg and set up drone delivery circuits for reducing the last mile delivery leg. We believe that robots powering last-mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us.

Zomato is currently delivering around 22 million orders on a monthly basis. The company has a last-mile delivery fleet of 1.5 lakh partners and has over 75,000 restaurant partners offering food delivery services across 100 cities in India. According to the company, the food delivery business currently contributes about 65% to the overall revenue.

This is the thirteenth acquisition for Zomato. The company had previously acquired notable startups, including Runnr, TongueStun, MapleGraph, Sparse Labs, NexTable, Mekanist, Urbanspoon, Cibando, LunchTime, Obedovat, Menu Mania, and gastronauci.pl.

Zomato seems to be following the steps of Amazon, which is the first mover in this segment by a distant number. In 2013, Amazon had unveiled its plans for a new drone-based delivery service called Prime Air. The service made its first delivery in the UK in December 2016 and Amazon has plans to expand the service to more regions.

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