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In Telangana, drones will deliver vaccines to remote locations

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on May 08, 2021

Receives nod to try drones for delivering beyond-line-of-sight under Medicine from the Sky project

The Telangana government has received permission to try using drones for delivery of vaccines Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) under its ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project.

The State had on April 29 received the nod to try of out deliveries on vaccines on an experimental basis within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) under the project launched during the Economic Summit in late 2019.

The project has been taken up in partnership with World Economic Forum. Expressions of Interest were called during Wings 2020 for this study and 16 applications received. Of these seven will try drone-based deliveries in the Vikarabad District.

‘Last mile delivery’

The approval for BVLOS, in addition to VLOS, was critical to explore the feasibility of the intended last mile coverage particularly for remote medical centres.

The BVLOS clearance is a major step towards thoroughly testing the drones over long distances and thus gathering information on their reliability.

Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Telangana, in a statement said “The approval for BVLOS flights was paramount to the nature of Medicine from the Sky Project. The success of these trials will establish the use-case and pave the way for adoption of the drones at scale and leveraging them for the healthcare supply chain.”

The airspace in Vikarabad has been cleared by Airport Authority of India and is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and operations are expected to begin by May-end or early June, subject to clearances.

24-day trials

The Area Hospital in Vikarabad will be the hub. Over 24 days four batches will run sorties for six days each with vaccine cold storage boxes equipped with temperature sensors as payload and data loggers to record the performance. Over the six days, two will be VLOS flights, followed by BVLOS trials over different distances.

Published on May 07, 2021

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