Earlier this month, ideaForge, the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) market leader in India, listed on the bourses, nearly doubled the wealth of its investors. Through the IPO, the company was able to raise Rs 240 crore in primary capital, and it has set an expenditure outlay of Rs 37 crore on the recruitment and training of highly qualified personnel.
The startup’s IPO has once again brought attention to India’s drones sector. As drone technology advances, it is causing seismic shifts in how businesses around the world conduct their operations. India has witnessed a 34.4% surge in the number of drone or UAV startups between August 2021 and February 2022.
The Rise of the Drone Industry
For policy sake, the government’s Drone Shakti policy serves as a model for this growth, laying the groundwork for India’s goal of becoming a global drone hub by 2030. Late last year, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the sector is creating employment opportunities worth about ₹6,000 crore per year and would require at least one lakh drone pilots in a year, with each pilot earning at least ₹50-80 thousand a month.
Drone makers and service providers are ramping up their product offerings and hiring to meet a spurt in demand that is expected to accelerate with the government’s PLI scheme, which is expected to bring down drone prices further. The annual sales turnover of the drone manufacturing industry may grow from $8M in FY21 fold to over ~$110M in FY24, according to ideaForge.
Acting as a significant propellant, India’s Drone Shakti policy has been instrumental in driving the domestic drone industry’s growth. This policy seeks to nurture a favourable environment for the expansion of the drone ecosystem and encourages the deployment of drones across a variety of sectors. Moreover, it underscores the necessity to develop robust infrastructure and regulatory mechanisms, thereby ensuring secure and safe drone operations.
Also read: TSAW Drones to hire over 350 by December
The surge in Startups and Investments
The drone landscape in India has seen a remarkable influx of startups and capital injections. Research firm Tracxn Technologies noted a 34.4% uptick in the number of drone startups. In the 2022-23 fiscal year, drone startups attracted investment to the tune of $49.7 million across 20 rounds. This signifies a noteworthy rise from the $25 million investment across 23 rounds in 2021-22, and the $11.2 million from 20 rounds in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
This rising trend in capital and startup creation underscores the industry’s potential. Startups are innovatively tackling sector-specific challenges, propelling the industry’s growth. The drone industry’s market value is predicted to surpass Rs 30,000 crore, with the manufacturing segment alone attracting Rs 5,000 crore in investment, potentially creating 10,000 jobs.
For example, Deoria, UP-based three-year-old startup TSAW Drones, already carved a niche by integrating the remarkable potential of drones and electric vehicles, the company orchestrates on-demand cargo logistics, orchestrating a symphony of efficient delivery systems.
Companies Hiring in the Drone Industry
The drone industry in India is on a hiring spree, with companies looking for skilled professionals to help them grow and innovate. The demand for drone pilots, engineers, data analysts, and software developers is on the rise. Major players in the drone industry, such as Terra Drone India, Skylark Drones, and Asteria Aerospace, are hiring professionals with expertise in drone technology and data analysis.
The Indian landscape for drone-tech startups is thriving, offering a wide range of opportunities across industries. Drones have found applications in agriculture for crop monitoring and precision farming, infrastructure for surveys and inspections, logistics for last-mile delivery, environmental conservation for monitoring and disaster management, security and surveillance, media and entertainment for aerial cinematography, and surveying and mapping. Recognizing the potential of drones, the Indian government has introduced supportive regulations and policies to promote the adoption of drones, providing startups with a favourable environment for innovation and growth. With the potential to disrupt traditional industries and offer innovative and cost-effective drone-based solutions, drone-tech startups in India have a promising future ahead.
Future of the Drone Industry and Job Opportunities
The future of the drone industry looks promising, and it is expected to create job opportunities in various sectors. The drone industry is expected to grow rapidly, and this growth is expected to create demand for skilled professionals in various fields. The demand for drone pilots, engineers, data analysts, and software developers is expected to increase in the future.
Apart from these traditional roles, the drone industry is expected to create demand for new roles such as drone traffic controllers, drone maintenance technicians, and drone safety inspectors. The growth of the drone industry is expected to create job opportunities not only in India but also globally.
TSAW’s Take on the Job Market
According to TSAW, to thrive in the drone sector, individuals need a blend of technical and non-technical skills. On the technical side, expertise in drone design, engineering, and programming is crucial, including knowledge of aerodynamics, materials, software development, and electronics. Non-technical skills like flight proficiency, data analysis, and understanding regulatory compliance are also vital for a successful career in this field. A comprehensive grasp of both the mass skills (commonly required across the industry) and niche skills (specific to certain specialized areas) will enable professionals to excel in the diverse and evolving drone sector.
The company is setting its sights on welcoming an additional cohort of 350+ talented individuals into its fold by the year 2023. With the scheduled recruitment dive, the drone tech startup is on track to cross the mark of 400+ employees, according to the company.
Firstly, there is ample opportunity for growth in the sector. Employees have the chance to take on new responsibilities and develop their skills as the company progresses. Secondly, there is a strong sense of ownership among the employees, as they are actively involved in shaping the company’s direction and success.
The drone industry is on the rise, and it is transforming the way businesses operate. The drone industry in India is still in its infancy, but it is expected to grow rapidly. The growing funding and number of startups in the drone industry are a testament to the potential of the industry. The drone industry is expected to create job opportunities in various sectors, and the demand for skilled professionals is expected to increase in the future. The future of the drone industry looks promising, and it is expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the Indian economy.