Finally taking wings, the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone trial run of Telangana’s Medicine from the Sky project kicked off in the eleventh hour on 11th September, 2021 using the identified airspace of the Vikarabad district, Telangana, 75kms away from Hyderabad. It successfully delivered critical healthcare supplies such as vaccines via drones.
Present at the inauguration ceremony were Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Civil Aviation Minister, Sri K.T. Rama Rao, IT Minister and Smt. Patlolla Sabitha Indra Reddy.
The logistic service provider Blue Dart is South Asia’s premier express air and integrated transportation & distribution company, offers secure and reliable delivery of consignments to over 35,000 locations in India. Blue Dart has collaborated with drone delivery tech startup, Skye Air for these trials
The trials on 11th September witnessed manless flights basically controlled remotely through a dedicated control centre managed by Blue Dart Med Air Consortium.
The flight occurred between the Police Parade Ground and a local PHC (a distance of about 3 kms), in Vikarabad. The aim was to discover how life-saving medical items such as blood, vaccines and medicines can be delivered more rapidly compared to by road.
Giving insights into the BVLOS trial, Swapnik Jakkampundi, Co-founder Skye Air said, “The drones flew in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) mode. The flights, equipped with consignments of vaccine flew at an altitude of 400 metres above ground level and covered a distance of 3 Kms. This is first of its kind live demonstration that has happened in India and we are going to continue doing BVLOS flights upto 9 kms in the coming days.
The drones delivered the vaccine payload of 1.5 Kgs to 3km distance within 7 minutes. Skye Air did this under Blue Dart Med Express Consortium. The trial was done using state of the art temperature controlled box maintaining 2-8 degrees Celsius. Further, live payload health tracking was enabled to ensure safety and secure package delivery.
While the trials were for the delivery for vaccines, it is eventually planned to expand delivery to carry medicines and blood, among other things.
The success of these trials is sure to transform how remote areas are supplied with essential healthcare supplies. The trials will continue till mid-October. By liberalizing their use and initiating these trials government has opened the corridor of innovation and drone application will soon be seen across multiple sectors. This technology will prove to be a game changer for India in no time.
Giving sneak peek into the upcoming trials Skye Air Mobility Co-Founder Swapnik Jakkampundi said, ‘The BVLOS trials will continue to create a buzz over next weeks and we anticipate to complete maximum BVLOS flights to further capitalize on the data to bring better business optics and develop operational models.’