At a time when India is exploring the use of drones, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used to successfully deliver a single unit of blood worth INR 10 Lakh from a remote primary health centre Lakh in Uttarakhand’s Tehri district.
According to a report by News18, Nikhil Upadhye, who founded Cdspace Robotics Limited had indigenously developed a drone at IIT Kanpur’s incubation centre for carrying payloads. Similar projects may be undertaken to ensure the reliability of the drones.
Citing healthcare experts, the report said that the use of drones in healthcare may prove to be a game changer in states which are not easily geographically accessed.
The Indian government has been increasingly exploring ways to use drones. These developments come at a time when the central government is looking to come out with new drone regulations.
According to Upadhye, these drones can carry four blood units of 50 ml each with the supportive cold chain to keep blood and its by-products cool. The machine can fly easily in light wind conditions.
India Bullish Towards Using Drones
Earlier in 2018, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had legalised flying commercial drones and also announced a policy called Drone Regulations 1.0.
Indian parliamentarian Suresh Prabhu said at the policy launch that the drone market in India holds the potential of hitting over $1 Tn. The Indian government had planned to develop drone manufacturing not only for the domestic market but abroad as well, he added.
However, the policy 1.0 is not up to the mark in terms of facilitating a sustainable environment for commercial applications of drones, as it bars the operation of drones when they leave the human line of sight.
This makes it impossible for the companies to use drones for their scaled-up operations such as hyperlocal deliveries, which is a big opportunity lost for Indian drone startups.
However, in September 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) legalised flying commercial drones. the minister of state of civil aviation Jayant Sinha who is leading the task force on drones that is supposed to file the draft Drone Regulations 2.0 had also said that delivery and pick up of goods by drones will helping in boost logistic capabilities.
In May, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had invited expressions of interest (EOI) from consortia of experts to conduct experiments in the use of drones.
In March, it was reported that the $17.9 Mn UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting applications from Indian early-stage startups working in VR/AR, drones and blockchain domain.
Indian foodtech unicorn Zomato has also been planning to launch drone-based food delivery in India. The company had acquired a Lucknow-based drone startup TechEagle Innovations in late 2018, which it believed could help boost its drone delivery plans by creating a hub-to-hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.
Apart from that, ecommerce giant Amazon is also looking to use drones for delivering goods under 30 minutes with its latest Prime Air drone design.