The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network and the Telangana government on Thursday announced they are set to launch an innovative project to deliver emergency medical supplies such as blood and vaccines via drones.
The pilot project, called Medicine from the Sky, will run in partnership with the State government and HealthNet Global Limited, according to an official release.
It will help facilitate decision-making in healthcare supply chains, focus on last-mile deliveries and address issues that affect the medical distribution system, the statement said.
“We hope that through this pilot (project) with the World Economic Forum, we can inform the Centre on the regulations that can help us positively use drones and unlock the potential of India by harnessing technology,” Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, IT and Industries, Telangana, said.
K Hari Prasad of HealthNet Global said the project will provide an evidence-based approach for implementation of drones in healthcare.
Murat Sonmez, Managing Director and Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, said drones have immense applications in the healthcare sector.
The roll-out of the project in India could be transformational.
Last year, the Director General of Civil Aviation announced the policy delineating what classifies as remotely piloted aircraft. It also outlined how they can be flown and the restrictions they will operate under.
It stated that drones can be operated by someone who is over 18 years of age. He/she should have cleared the Class X examination in English and should have undergone DGCA ground and practical training.
In addition to permission from the police, drone operators will have to continue to take permission from ATC (Air Traffic Control), ADC (Air Defence Clearance), and FIC (Flight Information Centre).
The DGCA has clarified that no remote pilot can operate more than one drone at any time. Drones cannot be flown within 5 km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad and within 3 km from the perimeter of any other airport.
These drones can fly only in the daytime and within “Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)”.