Drone delivery of medical essentials launched in Pune

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Drone delivery of medical essentials launched in Pune
Drone delivery of medical essentials launched in Pune

Volar Alta in partnership with the KEM Hospital Research Centre (KEMHRC), MIT World Peace University, Pune, and supported by the UK Government today launched Sanjeevan Bharat Programme – an end-to-end technology solution for drone-based delivery of medical essentials at the primary health centre in Avsari Khurd in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, Maharashtra

To conduct trials of a novel technology platform, the UK and India have joined hands. By maintaining a cold chain in a single drone flight, this technology platform enables multiple deliveries of medical essentials. Experts said, for people living in the rural areas, this will be a boon.

Volar Alta in partnership with the KEM Hospital Research Centre (KEMHRC), MIT World Peace University, Pune, and supported by the UK Government today launched Sanjeevan Bharat Programme – an end-to-end technology solution for drone-based delivery of medical essentials at the primary health centre in Avsari Khurd in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, Maharashtra.

“This Sanjeevan Bharat Program of KEM and Volar Alta, with support from ‘Make in India’ drones will be the game changer for reaching the unreached populations in difficult terrains of our country, especially the hilly and tribal areas”, Dr Sanjay Juvekar, prof and head, KEMHRC Pune.

Deputy Head of the British High Commission Office in Mumbai, Catherine Barnes, at the drone-based delivery trial, said, “The drone technology I saw today represents a hugely important advance in our ability to deliver essential medical supplies to remote communities. This technology has the potential to improve and save millions of lives. The UK government is proud to support such technology development, which is in line with the UK-India 2030 Roadmap agreed by the British and Indian Prime Ministers. I congratulate Volar Alta for being at the forefront of this kind of cutting-edge innovation”.

This unique technology platform is novel in the following ways:

  • Drone Agnostic Platform:To serve different kinds of needs of the healthcare systems, bring drones of different makes and capacities on one common platform
  • Custom payload:To enable maintenance of cold-chain without ice packs, these lightweight containers, made from aerospace-grade aluminium alloy, are equipped with an IoT-enabled locking mechanism, and a Peltier system. These payloads will also be capable of transporting various organs in addition to cold-chain and regular medical essentials
  • Business model:On account of cost optimisation and the operational effectiveness of the flight, the operating model will make the solution accessible to a wide range of rural health centres

“By establishing an on-demand logistics network to transport medical essentials to rural health centres across Maharashtra, we’re building the foundation for drone-based deliveries of a broader range of items using the delivery and inventory-handling infrastructure created by us. This can be useful in emergencies, routine and enable life science companies to conduct clinical trials for populations in inaccessible areas. Idea is to bring drones of different makes and capacities on one common platform to serve different kinds of needs of the healthcare & food distribution systems”, said Niharika Kolte Alekar, Founder & CEO of Volar Alta Private Limited.

Rutuja Patil Research Scientist at KEMHRC Pune, said, “Drones have been demonstrated for delivery of medical essentials by multiple agencies across India, however, although the technology is available and is upgrading day by day, routinely implementing the technology requires robust evidence in terms of applicability and scalability. We are working to create this evidence for the implementers”.

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