On Friday, Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, announced its partnership with the Telangana government to lead a consortium tasked with developing and executing the drone deliveries of medical supplies to remote areas under the ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project.
As part of the consortium, Flipkart will utilize learnings from its tech-enabled supply chain to deploy drones and enable deliveries of 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, the e-commerce giant 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 the fast delivery of vaccines.
The pilot project, 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 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’s Distinguished Product Manager, Pranav Saxena, said.
“We are proud to partner the Telangana government in leading the consortium by utilising our nuanced understanding of supply chain and technologies governing automated movement of shipments in fulfilling the dire needs of citizens across the state. 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 added.
Telangana’s Principal Secretary, IT and I&C, Jayesh Ranjan, said Telangana had been a pioneer in using technology to improve 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 said.
The ‘Medicines from the Sky’ is a project conceived by the World Economic Forum and Healthnet Global Ltd 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.