New Delhi, 9 Sept 2021: The Telangana government will on Thursday hold a trial run of delivering medicines and vaccines using drones. It is a part of state government’s ambitious ‘Medicine From The Sky’ project.
In a statement, the K Chandrashekhar Rao government said that the trial flights will be conducted from September 9 to October 10 at Vikarabad (Hyderabad).
On the first two days, the drones will be flying in the visual line of sight – between 500 and 700 metres from the base – and people present in the area will be able to see them with the naked eye, the government said in the statement.
From September 11 onwards, drone flights will take place Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) – for 9-10 km distances. These flights will be with consignments of vaccines, medical samples and other healthcare items, the statement further said.
BVLOS drone flights are those that go beyond 500-700 metres from the eye’s vision or beyond the visual line of sight.
This will make Telangana the first state in the country to start trials of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, the state government said.
The Centre too had recently taken initial steps towards delovering Covid-19 vaccines through drones. In June, HLL Infra Tech Services Limited, on behalf of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), invited expression of interest for delivery of medical supplies (vaccines/drugs) by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at select locations in India.
The company said that ICMR will engage UAV operators to operate BVLOS in fixed pre-defined or pre-approved flight paths and deliver Covid-19 vaccine.
Earlier this year, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) granted conditional exemption to ICMR for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones. The ICMR chose IIT-Kanpur as its partner for the project.