Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

List of top drone stocks in India

Let's explore India's drone industry by taking a look at drone stocks, government initiatives, and leading innovations

Published: Jun 25, 2024 03:25:20 PM IST
Updated: Jun 28, 2024 03:10:00 PM IST


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), generally known as drones, are a diverse range of aerial devices that can be controlled remotely. Initially developed as a military experiment, the Indian army imported drones from Israel in the 1990s to monitor the LOC during the 1999 Kargil War against Pakistan. Over time, drones have seen significant advancements and are used in several sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure inspection, delivery services, photography, security, and more.

The drone market in India is anticipated to reach a valuation of $4.2 billion by 2025 and $23 billion by 2030. The Indian government has been promoting the manufacturing of drones and drone components through various policies and schemes, such as the Production-linked Incentive (PLI), to see India become a global drone hub by 2030. Skydio, a leading American drone manufacturer's decision to manufacture drones in India reflects the growing interest of leading drone manufacturers in the country's market.

Drones are playing a crucial role in forest conservation and public health initiatives. One such initiative is using drones to combat dengue outbreaks in urban areas like Delhi. Also, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement agencies utilised drones to surveil COVID-19 hotspots and containment zones, ensuring strict adherence to lockdown guidelines.

The emergence of established companies like IdeaForge and the upcoming listing of Garuda Aerospace on the stock market signifies a rising trend of utilising drone technology within India's regulatory framework. With the attention of both domestic and international players, the Indian drone market has promising potential that can be explored.

List of Drone Stocks in India

Here’s the list of the leading defence stocks in India, with market capitalisation data sourced from NSE India and BSE India as of June 25, 2024.

Company Market Cap (in Rs)
Info Edge (India) Ltd 86,050.79
RattanIndia Enterprises Ltd 11,928.99
Zen Technologies Ltd 9,917.22
Paras Defence and Space Technologies Ltd 5,506.81
ideaForge Technology Ltd 3,438.28
Drone Destination Ltd
865.08
Droneacharya Aerial Innovations Ltd 356.71


Innovation and technical advancements

The integration of drone tech is significantly changing many sectors in India, reshaping the country's infrastructure. The proposed drones-as-a-service (DRaaS) model is designed to renew and expand India's diverse drone industry.

With the NITI Aayog projecting a $15 billion market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in India, anticipated changes in the investment for drones signify significant growth prospects. Driven by advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, miniaturisation, materials science, thermal imaging, and other cutting-edge technologies, drones now offer a broad spectrum of innovations including:

Agritech Revolution with Kisan Drones

Kisan drones are transforming agriculture by enabling crop assessment, precise insecticide, fertiliser, seed spraying, pest management, and monitoring crop health to address challenges like low yield and crop failure.

Healthcare Drone Deliveries with 'i-Drone'

The 'i-Drone' is dedicated to COVID-19 vaccine delivery and healthcare services in remote areas like Manipur, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, enhancing access to quality healthcare where traditional means are limited.

Digital Mapping under PM SVAMITVA Yojana

UAVs digitally map every rural Indian property, generating approximately 65 lakh digital property cards under the PM SVAMITVA Yojana. This initiative streamlines property documentation, reduces errors, and minimises human intervention.

Kedarnath Reconstruction Projects

Drones are aiding the reconstruction efforts after the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath, showcasing their utility in disaster recovery and infrastructure rehabilitation.

Monitoring Development Efforts

Drones are utilised to monitor various development projects nationwide, enhancing efficiency and data collection for informed decision-making.

LiDAR-based Drone for Namani Gange Project

A LiDAR-based drone is used to create high-resolution Digital Elevation Models and GIS-ready databases for the Namani Gange project, supporting the National Mission for Clean Ganga with accurate geospatial data.

Parcel Delivery Innovation

Successful pilot tests for parcel delivery by drones, like the one in Kutch, Gujarat, demonstrate the efficiency of drones in delivering essential items over long distances in a short time, enhancing logistics and accessibility.

Law Enforcement and Disaster management

UAVs assist law enforcement agencies with surveillance, crime control, VVIP security, disaster management, traffic monitoring, forest fire surveillance, and tracking dispersed seeds for growth, showcasing their versatility in various critical applications.

Growth of Drone startups in diverse industries

In fiscal year 2023, investments in drone startups in India amounted to nearly $50 million, almost double the previous year's figure. India currently has over 200 drone startups, and with evolving technology, this number is expected to increase substantially.

Agriculture

Drones are now helping the agriculture sector by enabling precision farming techniques, crop monitoring, and optimising pesticide and water usage. BharatRohan's hyperspectral imaging drones are revolutionising agriculture by providing detailed insights into crop health and soil conditions, ultimately enhancing productivity and sustainability in farming practices.

Logistics

The logistics industry is benefiting from drone technology through startups like Skye Air Mobility, which is pioneering the development of drone traffic management systems. These systems are instrumental in enabling the seamless integration of drone-based delivery services, optimising logistics operations, and enhancing last-mile delivery efficiency.

Healthcare

In the healthcare sector, drones are being leveraged to efficiently and timely deliver medical supplies and products to remote and inaccessible areas. Redwing Labs' initiatives showcase how drones are bridging the gap in healthcare access, especially in regions with limited infrastructure, by swiftly and reliably delivering essential medical resources.

Defence

Indian drone startups like NewSpace Research and Technologies are at the forefront of developing advanced swarm drones tailored for strategic applications by the Indian Army. These drones are designed to enhance surveillance capabilities, strategic operations, and security measures, showcasing drones' role in defence and national security.

Entertainment

Entertainment industries are using drone technology for many creative purposes, with companies like BotLab Dynamics specialising in drone light shows. Notably, BotLab Dynamics achieved a milestone with the world's second-largest drone light show featuring 3,500 drones taking to the skies above Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Government of India policies for Drone manufacturing

Production-linked Incentive (PLI)

The Production-linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the drone sector is a major initiative by the Government of India to boost drone manufacturing within the country. Announced in 2021 and reiterated in 2022, it allocated ₹120 crores to promote the manufacturing of drones in India. Its primary objective is to develop the drone industry's growth in India and position the country as a global hub for drone production, aligning with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Drone Shakti scheme for startups

The government announced the Drone Shakti scheme as part of the 2022 Union Budget. The mission aims to support drone startups and promote the 'Drone-as-a-Service' (DrAAS) mode. On February 9, 2022, the government notified a new drone import policy, banning the import of foreign-made drones while allowing the import of drone components.

SVAMITVA scheme

The SVAMITVA scheme, implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, aims to provide a record of rights to village property owners through the latest drone surveys. The scheme covers various aspects, such as facilitating property monetisation, enabling bank loans, reducing property disputes, and enabling comprehensive village-level planning. As of January 2024, a drone survey has been completed in 2.93 lakh villages across 31 states and UTs, and 1.75 crore property
cards have been prepared in 1.09 lakh villages.

Bharat Drone Mahotsav

The Bharat Drone Mahotsav, the largest drone event organised by the Government, witnessed its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This festival showcased a diverse range of drones and provided valuable insights into drone licensing procedures and employment prospects in the drone industry.

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