On 9th June 2021, popular ride-hailing service Careem released a cinematic teaser of a drone flying around an urban area. It was a possible nod to the introduction of Careem drone delivery in Pakistan, common in the US, U.A.E, Europe, China, and few other countries with laws and regulations for flying commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones.
According to reports, Careem was testing the service and claimed that it was going well. It also showed confidence in surprising the next person who orders food at their door. However, this idea has faced a fair share of criticism on social media due to some concerns.
Careem Drone Delivery in Pakistan Could face Security Issues
Careem launched its delivery services in Pakistan in 2018 and 2019, it announced in a press release that it would be bringing drones into the equation as well. The company aimed to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, traffic congestion, and pollution. Although it could solve the problem of last-mile delivery, social media was doubtful due to the lack of knowledge in Pakistan regarding this particular technology.
In order to start commercial operations, a drone is required to meet the criteria proposed by the country’s aviation authority. For example, in the US, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides type certifications to eligible UAVs indicating their airworthiness. However, in Pakistan, there are no drone laws yet but in December 2020, the government had announced to regulate the use of drones.
The folks were worried because the absence of drone laws can mean that right now authorities would oppose using drones openly on the streets. Doing so might result in security officials confiscating drones. So, unless the service of Careem Drone delivery in Pakistan gets an official go-ahead, there could be a problem.
Does Pakistan Has Proper Infrastructure for this Service?
As pointed out by many users, the skies in urban cities of Pakistan are usually crowded with several cables overlapping each other. This is one of many infrastructural problems like poor planning of roads, lands, power generation, water, drainage, and irrigation. Citizens believe that there is a huge chance of drones getting tangled in various objects, ultimately damaging the item.
According to universal standards of FAA’s rules, a UAV must fly at or under 400 feet with a maximum speed of 100 mph. The drone pilot would have to abide by the rules while avoiding obstacles in the way. For doing that, there are licensed experts providing hands-on training for drone flight. It is not clear whether Careem drone delivery in Pakistan would receive such training. The government also hasn’t released the official guidelines for recommended height and speed for UAVs in Pakistan yet.
Therefore, if the pilot is not trained enough to maneuver through Pakistan’s urban skyline; or the infrastructure gets worse and worse, there could be a problem.
Risk of Loss and Damage
Folks were also concerned about the fate of the drone and the item it would be delivering through uncharted territories. A population with less knowledge of drones can act out after watching an unmanned object flying over their heads. Some can attack it or try to intercept it which can damage the carrier and package both. In another case, it could also get snatched given the skills few people have learned by seizing kites from the ground using innovative hooks. So unless Careem has a backup plan for that, there could be a problem.
Overall the concept of drone delivery services is welcome for so many reasons. Besides saving traffic time or avoiding pollution, it has been helping in the COVID-19 pandemic by creating a resilient supply chain. Particularly, when there is a greater need for contactless payments, drones seem like an ideal device to deliver items from six feet away.
Moreover, many remote locations and inaccessible areas have received medical supplies on the same day with the help of drones. UAVs have been an integral part of health systems in Rwanda and Ghana since 2020, delivering 70% of the blood supplies in the entire country.