Hyderabad: The ‘Medicine from the Sky’ is an initiative of the Government of Telangana, spearheaded by the Emerging Technologies Wing of the ITE&C Department, in partnership with World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, and HealthNet Global (Apollo Hospitals). The project entails India’s first organized BVLOS trials as multiple drone consortiums are participating together to establish the use case of long-range drone-based medical deliveries. This is also the first drone program since MoCA had recently liberalized its drone policy.
As the first organized drone delivery program in Asia, the trials are focused on laying the groundwork for laying the drone delivery network that will improve access to vital health care supplies for remote and vulnerable communities. The project is a first-of-its-kind as it lies in the overlap of two of the most regulated sectors in the world i.e. aviation and healthcare. The project has eight participating consortiums comprising drone operators, experts in healthcare and airspace management among others, that shall demonstrate short and long-range drone-based deliveries to assess the efficacy of low altitude aerial logistics in healthcare.
The project has been officially launched today in the presence of Sri Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hon’ble Minister for Civil Aviation, Government of India; Shri KT Rama Rao, Hon'ble Minister for ITE&C, I&C, and MAUD, Govt of Telangana; and Smt. Patolla Sabitha Indra Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Education, Govt of Telangana. It was also graced by Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, and Shri Vignesh Santhanam, India Lead, Drones & Aerospace, World Economic Forum from the project’s partner organizations.
The launch shall be followed by about a month of continuous trials by the eight selected consortiums, that have been batched into 2 per week on a lottery basis, who will conduct BVLOS trials and collect the data from each flight in a carefully crafted drone demo report covering all parameters. The insights from these trials shall be used to drive adoption strategy for the state, and also publish reports that highlight Telangana’s experience and how the same can be leveraged by all states across India.
The selected eight consortiums along with their operators are namely Airserve Consortium (Airserve Initiatives); Bluedart Med Express Consortium (Skye Air); CurisFly Consortium (TechEagle Innovations); Dunzo Med Air Consortium (Skye Air); Flipkart Air Consortium (DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations); Helicopter Consortium (Marut Drones); Medisky Consortium (Sagar Defence Engineering); Redwing Consortium (Redwing Labs) where each consortium in addition to having a drone operator, also has a UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) partner, and a healthcare/cold-chain partner.
“Being at the forefront of leveraging emerging technologies, Telangana has always acted as a testbed for innovative solutions to support scaling across the nation. Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted that the healthcare supply chains can be further strengthened, and drones offer a robust value proposition esp. when it comes to remote areas and emergencies. The Medicine from the Sky is the first of its kind initiative in the country to generate insights that shall benefit the entire ecosystem. The enthusiasm and support by all the partners are deeply appreciated.”, said Shri K. T. Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister of ITE&C, I&C and MA&UD, Government of Telangana.
“The ministry’s new drone rules have unlocked the drone industry and the innovation therein on the principles of trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring. Drones are a frontier technology that can be used to access otherwise inaccessible areas, and thus allow equitable access to basic services like healthcare for even the farthest and remotest of areas. India is all set to become the drone hub of the world by 2030, and the potential of our innovators is only infinite.”, said Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Government of India