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Drones to become integral to India’s governance: IdeaForge Q3 highlights

In its latest earnings call, the company discussed the various use-cases of its drone technology and future plans for out-of-India operations.

Drones-as-a-Service (DaaS) business is expected to “fructify in the coming few quarters,” said Ankit Mehta, Co-Founder of ideaForge Technology, a drone company, on February 6, 2024. Mehta was speaking to investors about the company’s early stages in terms of validating the DaaS model and its future plans for coming quarters.

“For the Drone-as-a-Service business, we are seeing early billings from a few anchor customers. As the technology and market mature, I’m confident that drones will be an integral and ubiquitous part of our country’s governance and security infrastructure. We are confident that these early encouraging signs will grow into meaningful business in the times to come,” said Mehta.

He added that law enforcement is expected to remain an important use case for leveraging DaaS, along with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications.

Inspection becomes a new use case under DaaS: ideaForge’s DaaS use cases now include four categories namely: surveillance, mapping, delivery, and inspection; like cell tower inspection. The latter is the latest product usability discovered by the company.

“We were only doing surveillance and mapping so far. With unlocking of certain new use cases, the market potential keeps expanding, and a lot of this market potential is realizable in the short term as well. And some of it, like for example when we build a new platform particularly of a larger size, will get realized over the next three to five years horizon,” said Mehta.

While answering stakeholder queries, Vipul Joshi, Chief Finance Officer at ideaForge, added that ideaForge typically distributes its services between mapping and surveillance use cases but not the agri-market.

ideaForge releases two new dual-use drones: The company said it working on two dual-use case drones for the civil and defence market.

The first drone type is of a tactical drone category that provides surveillance and payload carrying capability within a specific class of drones that will also be the heavier than the heaviest drone the company currently has to offer. Mehta said this category will enable significantly long range and long endurance performance for various use cases, including carrying sensors that can do mapping for a really long period of time, or carrying surveillance and imagery payloads that can see at targets much further away from the object.

The second drone type is a middle mile logistics drone, expected to be perhaps 10 times heavier than the tactical drone, that will carry loads heavier than 100 kgs to distances over 100 km.

“So, broadly, trying to ensure that we are able to take very heavy loads in extreme environments as well if required to do logistics missions that were otherwise not possible. And a lot of parts of our country and other places are inaccessible, but can be really well served if we build a technology like this for those environments,” said Mehta.

Even in defence, focus on surveillance: Surveillance drones become the bedrock of defence operations, said Mehta while discussing the kind of drones provided to India’s defence sector. He explained that the drones serve as the backbone of operations at times as they help to assess “an end effect has been taken or an end objective has been tried to be neutralized, then whether the effort was effective or not.” Drones are also used for damage assessment, to ensure successful deliveries to targeted areas, Kamikaze missions, etc. Mehta said the drones “are essentially augmented to these kinds of systems to do the end effect.”

No significant contribution from North America operation: Mehta said it estimated its North America operation to start becoming meaningful in the coming year. However, until then, he did not expect the operation to contribute meaningfully to the company revenue. When asked about future impact, Mehta said he expected the out-of-India geographies to grow in terms of significant outcomes, since the company has received a positive response from these regions “at this point in time.”

Note: The spelling of the company was changed to “ideaForge” with a lowercase “i” following editorial inputs, at 11 AM on February 15, 2024.

Also Read:

  • Garuda Aerospace Introduces Droni, An Indigenous Personal Drone
  • IdeaForge Enters US UAV Market
  • Roundup: Drone Destination, IdeaForge IPOs, And Other Major Drone Stories
  • Mumbai’s IdeaForge Wins Global Contract To Deliver 200 UAVs To Indian Army

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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