Ecommerce giant Flipkart has partnered with the Telangana government to lead a group to develop and execute drone deliveries of medical supplies to remote areas under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project. The test is expected to be conducted for over six days, and the drones will be tested for delivering thousands of Covid-19 vaccines in Hyderabad while keeping in mind all the safety and efficiency parameters.
The Mint reported Flipkart saying that it will use its learnings from its tech-enabled supply chain to deploy drones and enable deliveries of medical supplies. To support this project, Flipkart will use technologies such as geo mapping, routing of shipments and track and trace of location, that they claim to have developed over the years in serving customers.
Pranav Saxena, product manager at Flipkart said that this project will set the premise for the utilisation of drone systems in providing healthcare and product delivery in remote areas and even during disasters.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had granted permission to the Telangana government to use drones within the visual line of sight (VLOS) range for experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines across the state, for a period of one year. This allowed various firms to test drones for delivery purposes.
Hyperlocal delivery app Dunzo had earlier announced a similar drone delivery system under the same project in Telangana. Logistics firm Blue Dart too had flagged off the testing of drones for the same purpose under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project.
The Telangana government, World Economic Forum and HealthNet Global, had signed a collaboration agreement for the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project, for which they have been granted this exemption from the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021. The ministry’s permission earlier limited drone operations to within visual range, but due to the ongoing pandemic, delivery of medicines and Covid-related relief materials are now allowed through operations beyond the visual range.
According to the Drone Federation of India, the tests will assess the viability of drones in improving medical supply chains. The test would include studying drone-based deliveries for blood, vaccines, medical samples and long-tail medicine.