Last Updated: June 14, 2021, 0947hrs

The government, in order to fight the battle against Corona and tackle supply hurdles hampering Covid vaccination programmes in far-flung areas of the country has invited bids for delivery of medical supplies and vaccines using drones to various parts of the country.

The criteria demands that an entity must be eligible to conduct Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in order to become eligible. Currently, no drone companies are eligible to do BVLOS operations.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA have recently short listed three firms- Throttle Aerospace, ANRA Technologies and Dhaksha Unmanned Systems to start trial for BVLOS operations from next week.

The tender has been called by (ICMR) and closes on 22 June. The tender document says “ICMR may support in getting DGCA approval only for this activity; however a prior approval from DGCA for BVLOS will be preferred”.

While Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) flights are dependent and operated within the pilot’s line of sight, BVLOS allows drones to fly beyond visual range, which brings the cost of operation lower and makes it feasible to deploy drones for commercial purposes like food or medicine delivery.

E-commerce major Flipkart has also partnered with Telangana government to develop and execute drone deliveries of medical supplies to remote areas under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project. As part of the consortium, Walmart-owned Flipkart will deploy drones and enable deliveries of vaccines and medical supplies.

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