The Maharashtra government is joining hands with Zipline, the only large scale drone delivery service active at the moment, to initiate a drone-based emergency medical supply service beginning as early as first half of 2020. The move is being further supported by grants from Serum Institute of India (SII), one of the largest manufacturer of vaccine across the world, and has the potential to critically improve the conditions of emergency deliveries prevalent in the country right now.
Formally named Maharashtra Medical Drone Delivery System (MMDDS), the service would offer life saving deliveries of blood, medicines and other related requirements. The service will begin by early 2020, with Zipline tasked with setting up at least 10 distribution centres across the state of Maharashtra — in Pune and Nandurbar. Going forward, more such centres would be set up so that the emergency network has the potential to cover any location within the state in a matter of minutes.
Announced at an event in Maharashtra today, Zipline's drones set to be used for this will feature robust all-weather durability, and be able to carry payloads of up to 1.8kg. The drones will be able to fly at up to 110kmph, and have a total range of 160km, hence potentially having up to 80km of maximum range in each journey. According to details announced at launch, each Zipline drone would cover up to 20,000sq km and nearly 20 million individuals, and would make deliveries by descending to a safe height and dropping a parachuted package to the designated delivery spot.
The SII's role, in this partnership would be to assist the project through grants. As a result, the first two Zipline distribution centres are being set up with the help of grants being extended forward by the SII. Going forward, the Maharashtra government is expected to maintain the service, possibly in partnership with potential third party entities.