Blue Dart to operate experimental Unmanned Aircraft System for delivery of vaccines, medicines

V Rishi Kumar | | Updated on: Jul 02, 2021

To deploy smart drone delivery solution for last-mile vaccine delivery


Express logistics service provider Blue Dart has formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium seeking to ensure the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with drones. Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly drone flights on an experimental basis in Telangana. It aims to assess an alternate logistics route in providing safe, accurate and reliable pickup and delivery of medicines, covid-19 vaccines, units of blood, diagnostic specimens and other life-saving equipment from the distribution centre to a specific location and back.

Immersive delivery model

Blue Dart, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, is aiming to improve the supply chain infrastructure and is fighting hard to combat the pandemic. Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories.

Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart, in a statement said, “As an organization, Blue Dart has always been surrounded with the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth. While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines.”

On drone flights for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) delivery of vaccines, Ketan Kulkarni, CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart said, “The consortium aims at enabling safer, efficient and cost-effective drone delivery flights. With efficient systems in place, it can help reduce the current logistics cost, making the healthcare logistics faster and efficient.”

Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, ITE&C Department, Telangana, said, “Telangana is one of the most proactive states looking to adopt emerging technologies, and the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project using drones is in line with the same principles. This project is one of the first such programs in the country where multiple drones would fly BVLOS to establish their value proposition for the healthcare supply chain. The vision is to ensure healthcare equity for rural areas.”

Published on May 13, 2021
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