IG Drones, an Odisha-based startup, has developed India’s first 5G-enabled drone. The drone, named Skyhawk, is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). It can be used in defence and medical applications, among other sectors. It can carry a 10 kg payload and has an endurance of around five hours.

With the rollout of 5G services in the country, these drones can be controlled with much more precision and from the command centre directly rather than being on the field. According to the company, the addition of artificial intelligence and thermal imagining capabilities allows the use of these drones in monitoring border intrusion and also during regular patrolling by the defence forces.

As Skyhawk is a VTOL, it can be operated from any terrain without needing a conventional runway. It is IP67 rated and can be controlled via a combination of Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) and global positioning system (GPS) navigational satellites which remain connected in the upper range of 50 to 60 in case of failsafe activation. As per the company, the drone is also capable of operating through satellites in case an internet link is not available. If operated at its peak speed, it can cover almost 100 km in 12-15 minutes. Further, it can give surveillance up to 100-200 km per day if used in defence forces. If someone deploys 20-30 drones, an area can be secured.