A few hours after BusinessLine published a story on Garuda Aerospace’s ‘White Knight’ drones delivering medicines and vaccinations in four Bengaluru hospitals on Sunday afternoon, an official from India’s space agency ISRO contacted Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Managing Director of Garuda Aerospace.

He requested for trials of drone-based delivery of medicines and food at ISRO’s residential colony located in Sullurpeta town, in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Sullurpeta serves as a gateway to Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

“The ISRO official wanted us to conduct trials of drone-based delivery of medicines, vegetables, food and spraying of disinfectants at its staff quarters near the rocket launch town Sriharikota, which we did successfully by deploying three White Knight drones on Wednesday,” Jayaprakash told BusinessLine . Garuda Aerospace is a Chennai-based drone-as-a-service start-up that designs builds and customises drones for multiple-use applications.

“Our Controller saw the article on White Knight drones being deployed in Bengaluru hospitals, and asked us to get in touch with Garuda Aerospace for the same. We have three residential housing colonies with 2,000 houses in Sullurpeta, and the trials were conducted in one of the housing colonies with 600 houses.

“While we have 200 Covid-positive cases in the entire colony, this particular colony where the trials were conducted has around 40-45 quarantined houses,” said an official from ISRO.

Trials successful

Stating that the trials were successfully conducted yesterday, he said the drones are bulky and need to be further customised and reduced in size to be able to navigate between power cables and telephone wires to reach the balconies of these residential quarters.

ISRO is considering full-fledged implementation of the drones after it receives internal approvals from its management for it.

Last year, Garuda Aerospace carried out drone sanitisation operations in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency of Varanasi. Prime Minister Modi, who also happens to be the Minister for Space, has always shown keen interest in ISRO.

“In recent years, the ISRO team has been the recipient of the nation’s collective adoration after the successful Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan missions. Last month, $85 million Ingenuity Helicopter Drone performed a historic first-ever flight on Mars captured by NASA’s Perseverance Rover. ISRO has indicated integrating Garuda Aerospace drones for several other purposes, thus signalling a new age of utilising drones in space,” said Jayaprakash.