E-commerce major Flipkart on Friday said it has partnered with Telangana government to lead a consortium tasked with the development and execution of the 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. These efforts will be complemented with technologies such as geo mapping, routing of shipments and track and trace of location etc, developed by Flipkart over the years in serving millions of customers across the country, a statement said. A combination of these technologies will then be used to conduct ‘Beyond Visual Line of Sight’ (BVLOS) deliveries in remote areas of the state where the road infrastructure is not conducive for fast delivery of vaccines, it added.
The pilot, which is expected to be conducted for over six days, will be tested out for delivering thousands of vaccines while keeping in mind all the safety and efficiency parameters, the statement said. “The COVID-19 crisis has pushed the envelope in the rapid development of scalable and robust technologies and the Medicines from the Sky project is a testament to that. It is a decisive step in making use of cutting-edge technologies for the safety and wellbeing of the masses,” Flipkart Senior Vice-President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar said. He added that Flipkart is proud to partner with the Telangana government in leading the consortium by utilising its nuanced understanding of supply chain and technologies governing automated movement of shipments in fulfilling the dire needs of citizens across the state. The ‘Medicines from the Sky’ is a project conceived by the World Economic Forum and Healthnet Global Limited that outlines the requirements for drone delivery and how to assess proposals.
The Telangana government has adopted this framework to implement drones for last-mile delivery and will integrate them into the state’s healthcare supply chain. “This pilot will set the premise for the utilisation of drone systems in providing healthcare and product delivery in remote areas and even during disasters, he said.
Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (IT and I&C), Government of Telangana said the state has been a pioneer in using technology for improving the lives of the citizens.
“Using drones to deliver healthcare supplies to people in remote and inaccessible areas is a one-of-a-kind initiative ever undertaken in our country and we are happy to lead this initiative in collaboration with partners such as Flipkart. This will go a long way in testing best-in-class technology solutions to tide over future crises, he added.