Drones are quite the buzzword these days with its commercial usage having the potential to be widely applied in varied sectors like agriculture, mining, advertising, and even aerial photography and cinematography. Skylark Drones, a Bengaluru-based tech startup in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) segment, is creating a niche for itself by concentrating on this early-stage drone ecosystem in India.
Skylark, was founded in 2014 by two RV College of Engineering graduates, Mughilan Thiru Ramasamy and Mrinal Pai, who are in their early 20s. It all began during their college days as early as 2008 during an inter-collegiate competition. They have also won the NASA Systems Award for developing UAVs. So far, they have developed over 15 drones.
Skylark offers solutions like mining inspections, aerial land surveying and even advertising using the drones. Presently, their clients include Bangalore City Police, Indian Army’s Assam Regiment, Redbull and others. Since the commercial use of drones is restricted in India, they have been working closely with the government agencies.
It hasn’t been an easy ride for them. For almost a year, they were functioning in a small 10×10 car shed and designing the drones according to the user requirement. “In a major breakthrough, we have received orders from a mining company in Odisha and we are in talks with Nabard to survey agriculture land using drones,” Ramasamy, co-founder and director said.
The company is in the final round of talks with the investors to raise its first round of funding which will be used to expand its operation and hiring more people. “We will hire people with expertise in computer science, electronics, global information system, and business development,” Ramasamy said. The founders also have the novel idea of using drones to transport live hearts, instead of blocking traffic and carry it during rush hours.
The city police have been using drones developed by Skylark to manage crowd during events such as Dussehra, Eid and New Year. The drones capture the events live using a camera attached to it and livestreams it, which the police use maintain law and order. Other startups in the segment include Garuda Robotix, Air Pix, IdeaForge and Edall systems. The interest is growing by the day with e-commerce companies wanting to use them to deliver products, park rangers wanting to use them to monitor wildlife and cinematographers wanting to use them in aerial shooting.
Skylark may go big once the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approves the commercial use of drones, which is expected in the coming months.