Friday, June 18, 2021

After IIT Kanpur study, Centre invites bids for vaccine drones

Kanpur/New Delhi: In its ongoing effort to expand the innoculation drive and ahead of June 21 free vaccination for those above 18 years, Centre has invited bids from companies or agencies that can deliver medical supplies using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to remote locations with difficult terrain.

This comes after a joint feasibility study by IIT Kanpur in colloboration with Indian Council for Medical research developed a standard protocol for successful delivery of vaccines using a UAV.

Centre has roped in a mini ratna company HLL Infra Tech Services Limited to invite UAV operators in the bid.

"Current pandemic situation, different agencies are helping the givernment to prevent and control the transmission of COVID-19. ICMR as a part of department of health research (DHR) is one of the leading agency in the country giving solution to variousissues encounter that is diagnosis, vaccines, treatment and so on. Vaccines are the foremost preventive tool to mitigate the COVID-19 transmission apart from Covid-19 appropriate Behaviour. ICMR shall engage UAV operators to operate Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) in fixed pre-defined/ pre-approved flight paths and deliver medical supplies (vaccines/ Drugs) payload at selected locations in India and return to the command station," the scope of work in the bid states.

Among the key protocol for the bid, is the mandatatory specification that says UAV should be able to cover a minimum aerial distance of 35 km and clock vertical altitude of 100 metres.

"This is another opportunity for IIT Kanpur to serve the nation during these times," said IIT Kanpur director Abhay Karandikar.

The test drone fo was developed by CDspace Robotics Pvt Ltd, a startup incubated at IIT Kanpur. The feasibility study was jointly monitored by project investigator A K Ghosh and Prof MAnindra Agarwal along with Nikhil Upadhyay, head of CDSSpace Robotics.

17/06/21 Rohan Dua/Times of India

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