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We Will Do EVs, Drones, Flying Taxis, And Working On The Technology Of The Future: Uday Narang, Omega Seiki Mobility

Omega Seiki Mobility a leading player in the e-vehicles space in India recently forayed into the Drone business. The Founder and Chairman of Omega Seiki Mobility Uday Narang speaks about the company’s new venture and future prospects

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Mr. Uday Narang, Founder and Chairman, Omega Seiki Mobility

Drones have been in the market for quite a while, but most of them are Chinese players. I would just like to understand you are an EV player, you are bringing more products in the EV segment then suddenly why drones? I can understand a lot of applications are there. What are your thoughts on getting into the drone segment?

The idea behind drones is to have our own built-in India products and not rely on Chinese business. OSM’s drones’ technology will come from joint ventures in Korea. We are a 52-year-old company with alliances in Korea, Japan, Thailand. For five decades, we have been quietly working on drone technology, as well as for the last three and a half years on the four-wheeler technology in Korea. We have our R&D centers in Korea and in Thailand that are working together in building new technology & more design advanced productivity. Our drones are going to be in the logistics space, by combining EVs with UAVs.

We are looking at Drones from a Logistical perspective, to quote an example. A driver takes the vehicle to a building in Mumbai or Gurgaon. The driver has to drag all of the material, people will not let him use the lift because of Corona or they have to drag that material up and down all day. And then the driver’s productivity goes down after the first 4 hours. So here our drones come into the picture. Our EVs goes into the building, from one floor to the next, wherever there is a place to go. Or they reach the top of the building & then from the top of the building they work down because dragging products up is more difficult than down. So we want to increase efficiency, we want to increase capabilities & use this in the logistic space. I've given you one example, there are multiple areas. We want to be able to deliver food when there are calamities, we want to be able to deliver medicines in rural areas when women are having kids or there is some sort of a disease. Another real problem is, we are using pesticides in all of our food products at the farms. If you see and spend the time on how pesticides are used, there are people who throw it with their hands which can lead to so many medical issues. And also, the pesticides are not evenly managed. We are using drone technology to do pesticides. In farms, the amount of productivity, the amount of quality, the amount of future land usage, the number of lives we save for the people that do this work, so these are areas we're working on.

So let me just understand that the drone project is basically an extension of last-mile delivery for omega, right? 

Yes. That is a part of it. And then, later on, you expand the logistics to other remote areas, delivering medical supplies, etc. 

The reason, why I want to do this, is, 90% of the deaths of accidents on roads happen because in the first 15 minutes, they can’t get the medicine. We want to use our drones as ambulances. So this is an extension where we want to combine, EVs with drones. 

A lot of E-commerce players like Amazon, they've been testing drones for package delivery. So are we looking at the Omega collaborating with any of these big players to enable them for last-mile delivery? 

We have these relationships with many E-commerce companies but we also work with non-e-commerce companies. We work with industrial companies that want to use this for logistics for themselves. So yes, we will be working. The key part, OSM is all about developing new products, working with technology, we call ourselves- technology motion. Our R&D teams in Korea and Thailand are working on air taxis quietly. So we will do everything, which is connected to mobility. So we will do EVs, we will do drones, we will do flying taxis. We are working on the technology of the future. We have R&D centers in Korea, in Thailand, in India, & we are looking for a location in Europe to continuously develop new products and come up with new technologies, where we can help the logistics players and other players of this country to be more efficient, to be safer and to be able to provide a better India of the future. 

Will the drones be provided as a service or as products like the three-wheelers from Omega?

We are providing the three-wheelers also as a service now. We will provide people if they want to buy, but our focus would be to provide service to be a part of the mobility solution to all the major e-commerce & logistics. So it’s not only about making EVs, it's about making sure that it is providing it as a service. That's the future of mobility. 

What kind of products and investments and timelines is there for the drones from OSM?

So we will be putting a very substantial amount of money, between 15 to $20 million on this project of OSM drones. And we will be bringing products, hopefully, in the second half of next year. We are doing testing right now in Korea and Thailand. We will be bringing them here probably in the first quarter of next year. We'll do our testing and we'll start rolling them out to provide solutions towards the second half of next year. 

Indian Government has been very proactive in drone technology. They have been releasing new policies to make drones accessible to people. So what kind of support are you looking at from the government on this new venture? 

I would love the government to be more proactive on the policies of drones, an area where government intervention will always be there, because of safety, because drones can be used in the wrong way if it gets into the wrong hands. But I would like the government to be more proactive, have better policies, provide more support for funding, promote more technology. They can give startups, in this space, more schemes & promote them. But again, we will continue to march our own way, always welcome help from the government, but also be capable enough to stand on our own two feet. 

Government is also one of the biggest consumers for such technologies. So would you in the future be looking to provide solutions to the government as well? 

Absolutely. The B2G business is extremely important. We are also involved in B2G on the electric side. We are taking part in a lot of the tenders. We are also working on Swacch Bharat tenders. So yes, we would love to be part of the solution. For us, making India better is a big part of our mantra. We want to be working with the government. I'm not interested in the defense side, I'm mostly interested in the logistic side, medical side, agriculture side. So my focus is non-defense and more towards the commercial side that could help for a better life for our citizens, men, and women in this country. 

Drones that are being researched in your research facility in Thailand and Korea, will they eventually be built in India in regards to both software and hardware?

Absolutely. Whenever we do deals and alliances in any part of the world, and we have been known for alliances, we make sure that everything comes back home. Once the initial R&D happens, everything, the software, the hardware will be built by our men and women in the future, in India. We were looking at Atmanirbhar India, Vocal for Local, even before this mantra came up in the COVID times. So the answer is, yes, everything will be made in India. All that technology will be transferred and the future will be made by our men and women in India, across this nation. 

Any thoughts on the future of utilizing drone technology for other segments as well?

Absolutely! We will use drone technology in multiple areas, especially in tier two, tier three tier-four cities. Also, I think drones will be part of our lives. My real dream is to reduce the congestion in our cities so we could have some flying taxis, flying vehicles to reduce travelling time & increase efficiency. I want to be part of that change. And we want to do everything at OSM. Nobody knew us a few years ago, we still need to continue developing. I think you know we are willing to take the challenge. We call ourselves dreamers & all these steps are a part of our great dreams.