Drone Pilot SchoolDrones to deliver vaccines, medicines in Jammu

November 26, 2021by helo-10

Indigenously manufactured drones by Indian scientists will be launched from Saturday for delivering medicines in the inaccessible and tough terrain of Jammu and surrounding areas with a focus on vaccine delivery initially.

“This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists,” Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told reporters here.  The use of drones has gained popularity in the last two years, beginning with the World Economic Forum’s “Medicine from the Sky” project in India. Several States are piloting similar solutions for better access to medical care among rural communities.

Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.

The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru’s National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister.

For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas. Used for surveillance and in humanitarian aid delivery, drones are being increasingly developed to transport medical samples and supplies.

Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of their strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones.

An official from the Science and Technology Ministry said, “The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it.”

NAL has called the drone an ‘Octacopter’. It can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc.

In an article published inElsevier Connect in 2016, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center  had noted that the cost savings would come from drones being able to deliver vaccines more quickly and cheaply than land-based methods, which are limited by road conditions and the need for costly fuel and maintenance.

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