Srinagar: National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) has developed ‘Octacopter with Beyond Visual Line of Sight’ (BVLOS) capability to facilitate rapid aerial transport of emergency medicines, vaccines, blood, human organs etc to far flung and inaccessible areas.
The first trial was successfully conducted in Jammu on Saturday. The drones took off from CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), Jammu and dropped vaccines at Government. Sub-district hospital, Marh.
What is Octacopter?
Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, CSIR-NAL, said the Octacopter is made out of light weight carbon fiber foldable structure for ease of transportation and has unique features like autonomous guidance through dual redundant MEMS based digital Autopilot with advanced flight instrumentation systems.
NAL’s octacopter can carry a maximum payload of 20 kg with hovering endurance of 40 minutes. The range and endurance can be enhanced by adjusting pay load for specific mission. It can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. Its regulatory compliance includes DGCA-NPNT, Geo fencing and digital sky with 360 degree Collision avoidance making it one of the best UAV in its class.
NAL Octacopter is integrated with powerful onboard embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc.
How many vaccines have been delivered?
The Octacopter has successfully delivered 50 vials of Covid-19 vaccines along with syringes in a special container from IIIM-Jammu to Sub-district Hospital, Marh on 27thNovember 2021. CSIR-NAL’s octacopter took off at 1.20 PM from IIIM-Jammu carried covid-19 vaccines and delivered to sub-district hospital, Marh at 1.43 P.M on Saturday. Octacopter flown at an altitude of 300m AGL at a speed of 10m/sec and delivered in about 23minutes.
“We are happy to know that NAL drones can also deliver the vaccine to PHCs to the further most remote border areas like Kanachak, Chou Manshasa etc., very safe & fast and we look forward to associating with NAL & IIIM for future trials of Covid-19 vaccine delivery in the border areas of Marh which are yet to vaccinate about 40% of its population for 2nd doses,” said Dr Dr.Manohar Rana, BMO.
Dr. Srinivasa Reddy, Director, CSIR-IIIM, said Octacopter will deliver vaccines in the remote inaccessible hilly areas. “NAL Octacopter is perfectly designed for such a mission with easy to operate by unskilled operators,” he said..
CSIR-NAL is also collaborating with private industries and startups like Bliss Aerospace, IoTech World, and Scientech for customer-specific demonstrations, production, marketing, and drone services to end customers so as to ensure a complete ecosystem for successful commercialization of CSIR technologies.
Dr.Jitendra Singh, Minister for State for Science & Technology, lauded the efforts of scientists for successful aerial delivery of Covid-19 vaccine from CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu to Government Sub-District Hospital, Marh, Jammu.
“Considering the fact that India is a vast country with 67% of the population living in rural India, this is where a drone-based distribution system plays a vital role. Using drones could make safe and fast delivery of critical medicines, vaccines especially to remote areas of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, including Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri & Poonch in Jammu region and Kupwara and Anantnag besides others in Kashmir. Also, the use of drones to deliver medical supplies will help in better resource management of the limited supplies and facilitate just-in-time delivery to the current supply chain system,” he said.