COVID-19 vaccine in India could soon be delivered by drones as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is preparing to conduct a study on the feasibility of the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine delivery using drones. Also Read - COVID-19 vaccine certificate: How to verify your certificate on CoWIN portal
The development comes as the Center has announced that the vaccination against COVID-19 for those above 18 years will begin across India from May 1, 2021, as part of the third phase of the inoculation drive in the country. Also Read - Now you can check COVID-19 vaccine availability on Google Maps: Here's how
The study was approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). MoCA said in a press release that ICMR and IIT, Kanpur have been given conditional exemption from Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 for the study. Also Read - Best high tech face masks you can buy: Philips Fresh Air Mask, Kenneth Cole Smart Mask and more
Further, the exemption has been granted for a period of one year. “Now, therefore, the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 70 of the UAS Rules, 2021, grants conditional exemption to the Applicant for a period of one year or until further orders, whichever is earlier, from the UAS Rules 2021 for the afore-mentioned purpose,” the press release read.
COVID-19 vaccine delivery by drones: What it means for users?
The use of drones to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine could certainly speed up the process and make available the vaccine to the needy faster, especially in remote areas.
However, do keep in mind that the study is being conducted as of now and it could take some time for the process to get implemented depending on the feasibility.
The COVID-19 vaccine delivery drone is being developed in collaboration with Bengaluru-based CDSpace Robotics Pvt Ltd. and Bharat Biotech.
This is not the first time that the MoCA has granted a conditional exemption for the use of drones in India. Prior to this, the MoCA granted a conditional exemption to West Central Railway (WCR), Katni to use drones at train accident sites and maintaining the safety and security of railway assets.
The conditional exemption was also granted to Nagar Nigam of Dehradun, Haldwani Haridwar, and Rudrapur for the preparation of GIS based property database and electronic tax register using drones.