Until recently, Mumbai and other cities in India acted as a hub for commercial drone testing for Amazon, hobbyists, and even pizza shop drone deliveries.
However, on Tuesday September 4th, Mumbai police banned the use of drones in city skies.
The original ban was supposed to be lifted on September 9th, with the conclusion of the local Ganesh festival. However, Mumbai police commissioner, Rakesh Maria, said the ban will remain in place until regulatory laws are implemented for consumer drones.
Police and lawmakers do recognize the advantages of using drones, and have employed drones on five different occasions to monitor political rallies and religious processions. However, it remains a major concern for public safety if this technology was to fall into the hands of terrorists.
While the Mumbai police have valid concerns, this poses a problem for the various companies, such as Amazon, that have used India as a hub for their commercial drone testing.
Amazon planned to launch their first drone delivery flight in Mumbai and Bangalore specifically because of India’s previous lack in regulatory laws.
On a smaller scale, Francesco’s Pizzeria, an offshoot of Domino’s in Mumbai, filmed a pizza delivery in a video that attracted the attention of over 1.5 million viewers on YouTube.
Francesco’s Pizzeria chief executive, Mikhel Rajani, while acknowledging the video was just a test-run, said the potential for drone-based pizza delivery is in the near future.
And in Hyderabad, hobbyists use drones for social causes such as monitoring water abuse, real estate surveying, and for filming weddings and fashion shows.
While public safety obviously remains the forefront concern for city officials, the all-over ban of drones has the potential to squash a growing industry.
For the time being until regulations are put in place, both Amazon and pizza deliveries will remain at a stand still.