Throttle Aerospace Systems (TAS) and business-to-business e-commerce startup udaan have successfully completed the trial run for drone delivery of medicines. The much-awaited Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) trial-run for drone delivery of medicines was successfully completed in Bengaluru on Friday. The pilot was led by Throttle Aerospace Systems (TAS) and Udaan, under the supervision of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The trial was conducted within a 15-km radius at Gauribidanur in the outskirts of Bengaluru by udaan for the last mile delivery of medicines.
“The efforts by the authorities to integrate drones in the supply-chain ecosystem is a major step towards creating a framework for an efficient last-mile delivery,” said Soumyadeep Mukherjee, product engineer, Udaan. The success of the trial run opens a massive opportunity to revolutionise customer experience in the distribution and logistics space.
“It is aligned with our vision to build tech-enabled solutions to empower small businesses such as kiranas, shop owners, chemists, and MSMEs that are based in the remote corners of Bharat.”
During the pilot, two variants of drones–Medcopter X4 and Medcopter X8–were successfully tested with simulated deliveries to Udaan customers. As a use case, Pharma Deliveries of up to 2 kg payload were tested at various distances in the designated area varying from 2-7 km aerial distance. The pilot deliveries saw an average of 3.5 km distance being covered in 5-7 minutes. Two different modes of deliveries were also tested. There were: tethered lowering of shipment and landing of copter with the shipment.
The success of the pilot run opens up the possibility of using beyond-line-of-sight drones for last-mile delivery of shipments in minimum time, to areas with improper road connectivity as well as faster deliveries in dense urban settings.
Once commercialised, in addition to regular deliveries in remote areas, the technology can also be used to supply life-saving medicines at the time of the natural disasters, pandemic, and calamities to the remotest corners of the country without facing any infrastructure or logistical challenges.
The companies said the trial conducted by TAS and udaan is a testimony of their commitment to build a world-class supply chain to ensure medicines and essentials can reach easily to every corner of India.
In June, e-commerce giant Flipkart partnered with the Telangana government to lead a consortium tasked with the development and execution of the drone deliveries of medical supplies to remote areas under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project. The pilot was tested out for delivering thousands of Covid-19 vaccines in Hyderabad while keeping in mind all the safety and efficiency parameters.
Google-backed delivery and e-commerce firm Dunzo Digital also led a Med-Air consortium along with industry experts to conduct experimental BVLOS (Below Visual Line of Sight) drone delivery flights for the ‘Medicine from the Sky Project’. The aim was to help improve access to healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June, TechEagle, a leading delivery drone startup, also got official approvals to deliver vaccines and medicines supply in the State of Telangana using drones. This is being done in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, NITI Aayog and World Economic Forum. TechEagle is aiming to strengthen the healthcare ecosystem with on-demand and rapid delivery of medicines and vaccines across the country.