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Police to seek explanation on use of drone for pizza delivery

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-05-2014 PTI

Mumbai: The usage of unmanned drone for the first time in India by a city-based pizza shop for delivery has come under scanner of Mumbai police, which will seek an explanation from the outlet as to why it did not inform them before carrying out the experiment.

Police will also ask Air Traffic Controller (ATC) whether Francesco’s Pizzeria outlet had a correspondence with them. When contacted, an ATC official said he did not know whether the outlet had sought permission from them. The official, however, categorically stated, “As per norms, permission must be taken for flying any such object.”

“We are very sensitive towards anything that flies in the sky with the help of remote control. We will certainly ask the outlet’s administration as to why it did not inform us before carrying out this experiment. We also seek full details pertaining to the drone test,” Madhukar Pandey, additional police commissioner (Central Region) in whose jurisdiction the drone was flown, told PTI.

“We will also ask the ATC if it was consulted by the outlet. After studying all the aspects, we will decide the future course of action,” Pandey said. According to sources, terror threat has been lingering over the city and inputs available with police suggest that terror organisations might strike using paragliding and unmanned drones.

During special occasions such as Independence Day and Republic Day, certain city areas are declared as “no flying zones” by Mumbai Police. In these areas, paragliding and use of remote-controlled micro-light aircraft is also not allowed.

On 11 May, the financial capital, notorious for its traffic snarls, achieved a first in the country after Francesco’s Pizzeria used an unmanned drone to execute a delivery by taking the aerial route. The unmanned drone successfully delivered a pizza to a customer 1.5km away. Francesco’s Pizzeria chief executive Mikhel Rajani on Wednesday stressed that this was only a test-flight but its results confirm that it can be used routinely in a few years.

A four-rotor drone took off with the order from its outlet in Lower Parel area and delivered it to a high-rise building in adjacent Worli area, Rajani had said, claiming that it was for the first time that the ubiquitous drone was used for such a purpose in the country. The eatery, which has been in operations for two years, made a video of the delivery, and an auto engineer friend helped with making the flight possible.

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