Vaccine delivery by experimental drone flights

The government is offering conditional exemption for experimental drone flights for vaccine distribution as part of its ongoing effort to broaden the potential of drone use in the world and assist the country in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have given Telangana’s government a conditional exemption to perform experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for vaccine delivery.

Exemption from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 has been granted.

This exception is conditional on strict obedience to the terms and directions/exemptions issued (or to be issued in the future) by MoCA. This will be valid for one year from the date of SOP acceptance or before further orders, whichever comes first.

The Telangana government was given conditional exemption last month to perform experimental delivery of Covid-19 vaccines using drones within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range.

Beyond Visual Line of Sight has been added to the grant to help speed up the drone deployment process and develop application-based models (BVLOS). The trials may begin as early as the end of May 2021.

Last month, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) received a conditional exemption to perform a feasibility review of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in partnership with IIT Kanpur.

The award of these authorizations is proposed to accomplish the double destinations of quicker antibody conveyance and improved medical services access by guaranteeing essential medical care conveyance at the resident’s doorstep, restricting human openness to Covid blocked or Covid inclined regions through aeronautical conveyance, guaranteeing admittance to medical care to the last mile, particularly in far off zones, conceivable mix into the center mile of clinical coordinations for long-range drones and improving the clinical store network, with a huge number of portions to be shipped across India.

The highest allowed height for drone operations is 400 feet above ground level, which is one of the requirements for the government of Telangana to perform experimental BVLOS drone flights for vaccine delivery (AGL).

It also stated that an energy balance of 15% of flight time should be planned for.

Another requirement is that the Telangana government station a Single Point Coordinator (SPC) at Shamshabad ATC for the duration of the trial flights to ensure proper communication with ATC.

Drone operations are also restricted between local sunrise and local sunset, according to the terms. Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) are expected to occur at take-off and landing locations. Furthermore, the temperature restrictions imposed by the drone maker must be followed.

The conditions also state that drone operations must be restricted between local sunrise and local sunset. It is specified that Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) should prevail at take-off and landing sites. Furthermore, the weather restrictions specified by the drone manufacturer must be followed.

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Written by Ankur J Kakoti


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