Blue Dart, Skye Air to fly drones for Covid-19 vaccine delivery in Telangana
Blue Dart Express and Skye Air Mobility, a drone delivery start-up, are set to launch the first drone flight for the Telangana government’s Medicine from the Sky project to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.
The courier delivery services provider said that the drone delivery trials for delivering medicines and vaccines will be undertaken in Vikarabad, Hyderabad starting from today to 17 October.
Through the Medicine from the Sky project, Telangana will become the first state in India to begin trials of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for delivering Covid vaccines.
Skye Air Mobility, which is a part of the consortium for the Medicines from the sky project, will carry out the majority of drone flights. The company has partnered with BlueDart Express to offer drone based delivery and drone flights to carry out the trials.
Balfour Manuel — Managing Director of Blue Dart said: “Our battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold with new challenges that need solutions in real-time. The pandemic has taught each one of us the importance of logistics and the need for a tech-led supply chain infrastructure.
“As an organization Blue Dart has always immersed itself with the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but operate exceptionally well. India rolled out a nationwide vaccination campaign that has administered over 70 crore Covid vaccine doses so far.
“While the nation is focusing on achieving 100% vaccination, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines, especially in the remote areas. Delivery of vaccination through drones would be a stepping stones to achieve this goal.”
According to Blue Dart, the first two days of the trials will involve flying in the visual line of sight, which will see drones flying between 500-700m from the base, which can be seen with the naked eye.
From 11 September, BVLOS drone flights will take place for 9-10kms distances. These flights will carry consignments of vaccine, medical samples, and other healthcare items.
Swapnik Jakkampundi — Co-Founder of Skye Air Mobility said: “The key elements that were deterrents in the sector for a long period are now in favour of this development. The environment is optimistic, people have the right mind set, favourable government policy and aerial technological advancements, drone delivery will be a game changer very soon.
“This move is in sync with our endeavours at transformational change in rural and remote areas by helping make instant access to vital medical supplies. We are extremely delighted to be a part of this project with the Telangana Government and our tie up with leading firms to give the first live demonstration trials which are being conducted in realtime with real vaccines & medicines being carried.”