SRINAGAR: The first trial of aerial delivery of Covid-19 vaccines through CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) developed Octacopter UAV was launched here on Saturday from CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) Jammu to Government Sub District Hospital Marh.
While giving the technical detail of Multicopter Drone, Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, CSIR-NAL said that the Octacopter is made out of lightweight carbon fibre 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 octocopter can carry a maximum payload of 20 kg with a hovering endurance of 40 minutes. The range and endurance can be enhanced by adjusting the payload for specific missions. It can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at the 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.
Ministry of Civil Aviation had granted conditional permission to CSIR-NAL for conducting BVLOS flight trials on September 13, 2021.
CSIR-NAL has teamed with CSIR-IIIM, Jammu and the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Jammu for aerial delivery of Covid-19 vaccines in the remote border areas.
The Octocopter successfully delivered 50 vials of Covid-19 vaccines along with syringes in a special container from IIIM-Jammu to Sub-district Hospital, Marh on November 27, 2021. The Octocopter took off at 1.20 PM from IIIM-Jammu carrying Covid-19 vaccines and delivered them to the Sub-District hospital, Marh at 1.43 P.M. The Octacopter flew at an altitude of 300m AGL at a speed of 10m/sec and delivered the vaccines in about 23 minutes.
Dr Manohar Rana, BMO said that usually, it takes about 40-50 minutes to deliver vaccines to their hospital from District Health Centre, Jammu by road. The Doctors at PHCs were delighted to witness the demonstration of the fast and safe aerial delivery of vaccines.
“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.”
Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister for State for Science & Technology (independent charge) who was the chief guest on the occasion lauded the efforts of scientists for successful aerial delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine from CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu to Government Sub-District Hospital, Marh, Jammu. He said it shows their commitment towards the healthcare needs of the masses in remote hilly and border areas.