India's first pilot programme involving drones to deliver COVID vaccines will take off on Friday, September 11. The trial run will continue until October 17 and will take place in Vikarabad. Titled 'Medicine From The Sky, it' will mark the debut of trials for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones, making Telangana the first state to do so.
The state's IT Minister KT Rama Rao confirmed with a tweet on Wednesday, September 8. A project of the Telangana government, there are about eight consortia carrying out trials for the project, including Dunzo and Flipkart. The launch of the pilot project has been delayed by several months due to covid-19 induced lockdowns and delays in regulatory clearances.
The launch of the pilot project was delayed by several months due to COVID-induced lockdowns and delays in regulatory clearances. "While the nation is focusing on achieving 100% vaccination, the current situation calls for much deeper penetration of vaccines, especially in the remote areas. Delivery of vaccination through drones would be a stepping stone to achieve this goal," said Balfour Manuel, managing director, Blue Dart.
Maximum Payload Of 3 Kg
The maximum payload a drone can carry is 3 kg, which will be sufficient to carry at least two units of blood and many vaccine vials. If the trials are successful, the drone delivery model for emergency medicines and vaccines will be utilised on a commercial level.
It will be mostly for emergencies and will be deployed in areas that are difficult to reach such as hilly regions in northeast India, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, where transport of medicine and vaccines becomes difficult, especially during the monsoons.