Blue Dart, a Mumbai-based logistics company and a part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), recently announced that it has successfully commenced its ambitious Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) drone delivery trials under the Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium in Vikarabad, Hyderabad, on September 9th, 2021. Blue Dart, one of India’s leading express logistics service providers, is proud to be given the first opportunity amongst various consortiums to initiate the Drone trials.
Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart, attended the launch as the organization furthered its technological prowess. The initiative was launched under Telangana Government’s ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project; these trials have delivered promising results, bringing the country one step closer to ensuring the last-mile delivery of vaccines, emergency medicines, medical samples and other healthcare items in India. Along with these, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) trials was initiated on September 11th, 2021 and will continue till the end of the week.
This event was graced by Sri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Government of India, Shri KT Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for ITE&C, I&C and MAUD, Govt. of Telangana, Shri Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India, Smt. Rama Devi Lanka, Director of Emerging Technologies, Govt. of Telangana, and Smt. Nikhila, Collector & District Magistrate, Vikarabad District.
The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium was formed earlier this year with the mission of revolutionizing the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with Drones. Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is a part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global.
Commenting on the launch, Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart, said, “Blue Dart is championing future-ready technology; and collaborating with the Government of Telangana in its ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project, provided us with a perfect opportunity. The initiative is aimed at creating a robust healthcare infrastructure for last-mile delivery in the interiors of India, providing every individual with the healthcare they deserve. As we witness the marvel of drone technology, we look forward to extending this service across the nation and bringing the world closer to these remote areas.”
Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and Head – Business Development, Blue Dart, shared his thoughts on this event, saying, “technology has become the backbone of not just the logistics industry, but of almost every industry across the world. At Blue Dart, technology continues to be an important pivot for our business and these drone trials are just the beginning of what we aim to explore. In line with our organization’s ‘First In Last Out’ policy, we have created these opportunities to contribute to the development of our nation while we achieve our business goals. Blue Dart will leave no stone unturned to make logistics in India remarkable and trustworthy.”
The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium drone delivery trials currently involve delivering vaccines from Vikarabad to the primary health care centre in Sidduloor using a multi-rotor drone. A total of 6-7 trials for VLOS operations (up to 1km) and 4-5 trials for BVLOS operations (up to 9kms) were conducted per day. Operated by remote pilots, the drone can travel up to 10kms in a single run, at a speed of 32 km per hour.
These Unmanned Aircraft Systems or drones can even handle Blue Dart’s specialized Temperature Controlled Shipments with a payload of up to 5kgs and are equipped to pick up and deliver the shipment from the distribution centre to the towns that need the medical supplies and vice versa. The task to bring vaccines and such emergency supplies to remote areas at perilous heights and volatile terrains is not easily achieved without technology. These trials mark the beginning of advanced age in logistics for the nation.
Leading the Express Logistics industry for close to three decades, Blue Dart’s Reliability, Resilience and Responsiveness enabled it to continue fulfilling its role as the Trade Facilitator to the nation during these challenging times. Blue Dart played an active role in the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic by partnering with the Government of India’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative to deliver mission-critical supplies, including essentials such as PPE kits, enzymes, Blood samples, medicines, respirators etc.
On the international front, Blue Dart has also been operating cross border to China (Guangzhou and Shanghai) to support the carriage of medical supplies and expanded its charters to Myanmar, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh. Blue Dart has also facilitated the movement of crucial shipments for COVID-19 related clinical trials, COVID samples, and vaccines against the virus domestically while also aiding the first-mile movement of these shipments across borders to Bhutan and Albania, amongst other nations.
Apart from this, Blue Dart is also flying its charters to carry oximeters, ventilators, and oxygen concentrators. The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. Leveraging an efficient system of this kind, Blue Dart intends on supporting and improving the healthcare logistics infrastructure to be faster and more efficient, especially in rural & deep rural interiors of the nation.