Indian government soon to use drones for delivery of COVID vaccines, first trials in Telangana

Amid the severe shortage of vaccines, oxygen, drugs, equipment and beds in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted a conditional exemption for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. Under the project, the first trials are set to be conducted in Telangana by the end of May.

The Government of Telangana received permission last month from Centre for conducting experimental delivery of COVID-19 vaccines within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones. The project is being developed in order to accelerate the process of vaccine delivery in the country and also to improve healthcare access by ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep by limiting human exposure to COVID-congested or COVID-prone areas through aerial delivery.

Apart from this, the government also believes that this new drone service will help provide an improved medical supply chain even in remote areas of the country.

The conditional exemption has been granted to the Telangana government from the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, for “conducting experimental delivery of vaccines” to enhance the scope of drone usage in the country and assist the nation to fight the pandemic.

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