Deep Aero wants to be an Uber for drones

Firm wants to launch unmanned traffic management platform and a global decentralised marketplace

20:55 May 31, 2018
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The use of drones is already growing across various sectors but an Ajman-based start-up — Deep Aero — is fuelling an autonomous drone economy driven by artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Gurmeet Singh Anand, CEO of Deep Aero, told Gulf News that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles is increasing exponentially.

“In the coming future, we will see millions or billions of commercial drones flying in the air. When that happens, there has to be an autonomous system to manage the drone traffic. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare for regulators,” he said.

Deep Aero is developing a platform for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and a global decentralised marketplace where people will be able to buy drone-related services and products.

“We have drones for military, commercial and consumer uses. What we are focusing is on the commercial drones. The UTM platform we are developing is autonomous, self-governing and with the regulatory framework to ensure that drones that are registered on the platform and adhere to all the regulations that are fed automatically into the platform. It will be given to the government,” he said.

The beta UTM version is expected to be available by end of this year. “The regulators will also have a clear view of which drones are flying beforehand. All data will be available for regulators for forensic analysis,” he said.

He said the marketplace will be launched first and the beta version will be launched in July.

“If I am a small farmer who cannot afford to buy a drone for agricultural use will be able to offer a small fee to an operator who can do it for me and give me insights into what I should do to increase production,” he said.

Moreover, he said it will bring down the cost by more than 75 per cent and increase efficiency by more than 100 per cent.

In the marketplace, he said that his company will also be one of the vendors like Amazon.

“What Amazon does is that it will find out which are the best performing products and then it starts selling its own version at a much cheaper price than others. We want to be the Uber for drones,” he said.

He said the framework and regulations for drone deliveries are still happening globally and it will take a couple of years to become a reality.

The opportunities are immense but, he said the first and foremost challenge is the regulatory environment.

The governments are a bit scared of any new technology and it is reasonable also. The second challenge is to get funds, he added.

Deep Aero’s first target market for cargo delivery will be in Africa.

Anand said that Rwanda is using autonomous drones for delivery of blood and critical medicines from a central warehouse to more than 200 hospitals.

“If you look at the efficiency, they have reduced the expiry of blood transfusion to almost zero.

We will be looking at such geographies where regulators are more favourable. Wherever we get approvals, we will be launching drone deliveries and it would be offered as a service in the marketplace,” he said.

The company is using blockchain technology on top of it for a very “specific purpose”.

“People will be able to buy through smart contracts. When a flight plan has to be approved, the AI looks at the data of the drone on the blockchain and which cannot be altered or tampered. All the checks will be performed through blockchain and then given the green light to take off,” he said.

The company has launched an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) from May 1 and will go to till the end of July to raise money.

Anand said the target is 135,000 Ethereum.

“We had a presale primarily geared towards institutional investors. We have already tied up with different exchanges for the sale. Our target is to raise Rs5 billion through drones tokens. Out of that, Rs3 billion to be raised through ICO. The unsold drone tokens through ICO will be burnt. One Ethereum is equal to 20,000 drone tokens,” he said.

Company profile

Name: Deep Aero

Sector: Drones

Year Founded: 2017

Founders: Gurmeet Singh Anand

Funding: $300,000

Employees: 26