New Delhi-based drone startup Skye Air Mobility along with Aster DM Healthcare is currently undertaking a seven-day trial for carrying out deliveries of medicines and diagnostic samples from Aster RV Hospital to Aster Clinics in Bengaluru.
The beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operation began on May 14, and is expected to continue till May 20, a release by Skye Air said. According to an agreement signed by the drone startup and the healthcare provider, Skye Air, with its 'Skye Ship One' drone, is aiming to undertake 80 flights, each carrying blood samples and medicines for Aster clinics. BVLOS drone flights are those that go beyond 500–700 metres from the eye's vision or beyond the visual line of sight.
A Skye Air release said that firstly, a Skye Air cold chain professional will load the medicine and diagnostic sample in a temperature-controlled payload box. Then, the payload box will be loaded on the drone, which would be then manoeuvered by drone pilots at the command centre through a predetermined route to a fixed landing pad.
Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Aster CMI Hospital said, " There will be an aligned workforce to handle customer requirements and queries. The patients will have access to details on the delivery process to make it more transparent and will be ensured with accurate high-quality communication to create better patient loyalty… "
A release by Skye Air claimed that the trials will showcase the efficiency of drone technology to facilitate faster deliveries of medical and diagnostic samples, and overcome the logistical barriers while reducing the turnaround time.
Ankit Kumar, CEO, Skye Air Mobility said, " These trial runs will result in commercial rollouts in different locations for the healthcare service provider across India. "
Telangana’s Medicine in the Sky
In 2021, the Telangana government took up drone trials for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and other essential items such as blood and drugs in the Vikarabad district. The trials were taken up by eight consortia participating, including Helicopter Consortium (Marut Drones), Redwing, CurisFly (Tech Eagle) and Dunzo Med Air Consortium (Skye Air).
A platform called Hepicopter was developed through which 2,000 to 5,000 doses of vaccines could be carried by a drone via one trip over a distance of 20-40 km. It was estimated that a pair of drones can fly around 10 trips every day to different health facilities transporting 40,000-1,00,000 doses and deliver them directly.
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