Traveling through Indian roadways raises a lot of concerns especially intracity travels. The urban cities in India have a lot of traffic, infrastructure problems which are bad roads, an increase in population, etc. All these make road transport a hurdle and reaching a place on time harder.
In order to solve the issues faced due to traffics and bad infrastructure in the country, the Chennai-based e-plane company is in the process of developing an Air Taxi which would take the aerial route.
Ubifly Technologies Private Limited was founded in the year 2016. The company is better known as the e-plane company and was founded by Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy and Panjal Mehta.
Founders of The e-plane Company
Panjal Mehta is an alumnus of IIT Madras and a student of Satyanarayanan. Satyanarayanan is the co-founder and CTO of the company. He was a professor in IIT Madras teaching aerospace engineering since 1998. He is also the head of the Centre for Propulsion Technology and the head of the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development Lab (NCCRD).
One of the major reasons that led to the launch of the company was his study on propulsion. Panjal Mehta was involved in working towards building a short-distance daily flying vehicle.
Aim of The e-plane Company
Satyanarayanan has explained that the main aim of the startup is to redefine intracity traveling in the country. The company will concentrate on developing electric planes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). This will mainly be concentrated on short-range intracity travels.
He also says that the products developed by the startup will be different and unique in nature. The company is building a hybrid mix of drones and electric aeroplane technology.
He gave an explanation saying that the vehicles will take off and land similar to a drone but will move forward in the air like an electric aeroplane.
The e-plane Company Funding
4th Dec 2020 - The e-plane Company raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Speciale Invest.
3 March, 2021 - The ePlane Company raised a funding of $1M from Naval Ravikant, as a part of its seed funding round.
Satyanarayanan who is the co-founder has revealed that the startup has already designed three UAV models.
The first product developed by the company is TEC’s Ek Hanz. It is a UAV model is designed especially for delivering goods and services. It can carry up to 6kgs of load and will be able to fly continuously for 100 km at a speed of 50 km/hr.
The next product of the company is Scout. It is a drone that is designed and developed mainly for surveillance and security purposes. This drone has a powerful onboard processor and also has a long-lasting battery. This will ensure proper surveillance during certain crises.
The company is also in the process of developing a hybrid auto-pilot e-plane which will be called as Vayu. This model is also developed for surveillance, but it will be concentrated on operating in larger areas. The main feature of Vayu is that it is smaller than Ek Hanz and Scout, but will fly continuously for more than 2 hours in a single charge.
The company is also working towards building a two-seater electric air taxi which is named as e200. This will concentrate on office goers who travel on a regular basis to work.
Supervision Free Flights
The startup has claimed that its copyrighted ML algorithms will enable their flights to travel through the air without supervision. The vehicle would take off and land like a drone with just a push of a button and the vehicle will move forward like a plane.
It is said that their air vehicle will automatically be able to detect any obstacles which come on their way such as trees, electric poles, etc. to ensure a safe flight. Hence, the air vehicle wouldn’t require supervision.
Commercial drone market of India
India’s commercial drone market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.4 percent in 2020-2026 according to a report by Research and Markets. The report has also added that the growth in the use of drones has been increased because of the Covid-19 outbreak globally.
As of now, the majority of drones are being used for surveillance and mapping. The outbreak of Covid-19 in the country has made a realization of the importance of drones for deliveries.
In June 2020, 13 companies were allowed to conduct trials which were let by the Directorate General of the Civil Aviation (DGCA). This trial was conducted to check the possibility of using drones for delivering medicines and other necessary goods and services.
Future plans of The e-plane company
Satyanarayanan has explained that the startup is not working towards or focused on building drones but is aiming towards building and developing electric planes or Air taxi for intercity transportations. They are working towards building electric planes which will be the future of intracity travel.
The co-founder had said that the company is currently building a two-seater e-plane. This will be concentrated on working as an Air taxi. He said that the company will take at least 2 years to build the aircraft and some more years to receive permission from the aviation industry.
What does Air Taxi mean?
Air taxis are a small commercial airplane used for short flights between localities.
Which company is going to start drone air taxi service in India?
Malaysian budget airline AirAsia is planning to launch a flying-taxi business as soon as next year.
Does Dubai have flying Air taxi?
Dubai has one of the first major project of Air taxi, The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is an 18-rotor drone taxi. The company claims to be the world's first 'self-flying taxi service'.
India could soon join the race towards devising better ways of transportation. As The e-plane company is working towards building a two-seater electric air taxi which is named as e200. This will concentrate on office goers who travel on a regular basis to work. The startup is also working towards raising external funding.
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