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Delhivery, a logistics and e-commerce supply chain company based in Gurgaon, India, acquired Transition Robotics Inc (TRI), a Santa Cruz, California-based maker of unmanned aerial drones. The financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
TRI was founded in 2011, and the company has worked on unmanned aerial drones since its beginning. Today, TRI specializes in vehicle design, electronic design, software and controls, ground testing and flight testing.
In 2015, TRI unveiled JumpShip. JumpShip is a fully autonomous drone platform that allows operators to combine the operational flexibility of a multi-rotor with the fast flight of a fixed-wing aircraft.
With the acquisition, all of TRI’s intellectual property registered in the U.S. will be assigned to Delhivery. This strengthens Delhivery’s capabilities in many different applications, including aerial photography, remote sensing, inspection and surveys.
TRI is Delhivery’s third acquisition in 2021. In March, it acquired Primaseller, a SaaS startup that provides a multi-channel inventory and order management software for omnichannel retailers. The details of this deal were also not disclosed.
In August, Delhivery acquired Spoton Logistics for $300 million. Delhivery made this acquisition to strengthen its B2B capabilities.
In November, Delhivery filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company seeks to raise about $998 million in its IPO. While the company was valued at $3 billion in May, it hopes to list at a valuation of over $6 billion.
Delhivery is backed by a number of companies, including SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Times Internet, The Carlyle Group, Steadview Capital and Addition. In July, FedEx Express invested $100 million in the company, with an agreement that the two companies would enter into a long-term commercial pact.
Drone deliveries coming to India?
Currently, India doesn’t allow delivery by drones, but the country has been updating its drone laws this year.
Recently, the country loosened its drone rules for operating civilian drones. Under the new rules, civilians can fly mini drones without security clearance. These drones also do not require a unique authorisation number or a certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness.
These requirements, among others, were rolled back by the order issued by the Indian government in August. The order also increased the payload of drones from 300 kg to 500 kg.
In September, India also allowed some entities to pilot test drone deliveries of vaccines as part of the Medicine from the Sky project.
In the same month, India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation modified the airspace map for operations of drones. The end goal is to establish a different air traffic management system for drones.
These changes in the country’s policies could have influenced Delhivery’s decision to acquire the drone company.
“While we continue to build our supply chain platform, we must look at the long-term developments poised to shape the industry,” Kapil Bharati, chief technology officer at Delhivery, said. “Bringing TRI onboard gives us a chance to get directly involved with core drone technology as regulations and use cases for drones are evolving in the country.”