Garuda Aerospace, a Chennai-based drone start-up, on Tuesday launched India’s first drone skilling and training virtual e-learning platform at its manufacturing facility here. Around 10,000 students joined virtually from 1,000 colleges in 500 districts across India. The start-up also announced ‘drone yatra’ and ‘Operation 777’ to educate and demonstrate the efficacy of drones for different agricultural uses across 777 districts in India.
Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports and Information & Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur, inaugurated both the programmes at the Agni College of Technology Campus. He also launched the first of the 1,000 planned Drone Centre of Excellence.
Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, said the drone yatra will help farmers understand more about the technology and give them a better perspective on growing crops. With a dual objective of empowering farmers and creating employment for Indian youth, the company is committed to manufacturing at least 1 lakh kisan drones by 2024.
The Indian drone market is expected to reach $5 billion in 2024. With a fast-growing sector for unmanned aerial vehicles, India is estimated to develop a multibillion-dollar industry of drones in the next decade. The opportunity lies with 6 lakh villages in India. This provides a huge opportunity to skill youth in rural India and prepare them to be drone entrepreneurs contributing to the project of $3-trillion economy, he said.
Garuda’s 5G-enabled integrated drones in the coming years will enable unprecedented connectivity and Garuda is working to develop an asset light model to enable such connectivity in rural areas, he said.
In his address, Thakur said India will become a hub of drone technology and the country requires at least 1 lakh drone pilots by next year. He reiterated the government’s commitment to promote the use of technology in the agriculture sector to increase farm production. It is envisaged that these drones will help in streamlining the use of pesticides in farms, which will further improve the profitability of the farmers, he said.