'Medicine from the Sky': Telangana testing drone delivery of vaccines
The government of Telangana has launched a project to check the feasibility of delivering medical supplies such as vaccines and drugs through drones, which can help improve the efficiency and speed of such deliveries. The move is part of the "Medicine from the Sky" project, that has been conceived by the World Economic Forum and Healthnet Global Limited. Here are more details on this.
The central government has also exempted Telangana from certain BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) restrictions in order to allow the state to test drone operations for vaccine deliveries. Several companies having logistics experience, including Flipkart and Dunzo, have also announced a consortia under Telangana government's scheme to develop and execute drone deliveries there.
The pilot for the project is expected to be conducted for over six days, according to a statement from Flipkart. In the statement announcing its participation in the project, Flipkart recently said, "As part of the consortium, Flipkart will utilize learnings from its tech-enabled supply chain to deploy drones and enable deliveries of vaccines and medical supplies (sic)."
"A combination of these technologies will then be used to conduct BVLOS deliveries in remote areas of the state where the road infrastructure is not conducive for fast delivery of vaccines. The pilot...will be tested out for delivering thousands of vaccines," the company further added.
Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research floated a tender, inviting applications from drone operators to supply drugs and vaccines. The Council said the drones should be capable of flying up to 35 kilometers and carrying a shipment of four kilograms. The tender, floated through the HLL Infra Tech Services Limited, has reportedly invited the bids by June 22.
In April, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation had granted a conditional exemption to the ICMR for carrying out a feasibility test of COVID-19 vaccine delivery through drones. The ICMR had partnered with IIT-Kanpur for that study.