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    WEF 2022: Why this drone project in Telangana is getting global attention

    WEF 2022: Why this drone project in Telangana is getting global attention

    WEF 2022: Why this drone project in Telangana is getting global attention
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Drone are now used not just to target border enemy or for photography purposes, but also for delivering medicines, vaccine and even blood in remote area. This was made possible in India's Telangana a few years ago and now, the pilot programme has piqued interest on a global scale.

    A few years ago, India took drone technology a step forward and introduced the ‘Medicine from the Sky' (MFTS) programme to explore scenarios where drones could ensure timely access to medical supplies and act as a life-saving technology. The programme had primarily focused on the delivery of blood, medicines, vaccines and organs to rural areas.
    To check the feasibility of the programme, first, a blood delivery was carried out using drones within line-of-sight, visual range. Soon after this, for the first time, vaccines were delivered beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) using drones.
    This way, India became the first country in Asia to deliver COVID-19 vaccines by drones. The trials were conducted in partnership with the state government of Telangana, Apollo Hospital’s HealthNet Global and NITI Aayog over 28 days in designated air corridors in the district of Vikarabad, Telangana.
    “The Medicine from the Sky (MFTS) programme in India’s Telangana state pioneered last-mile medical drone deliveries in the developing world and has been instrumental in demonstrating how the drone sector can flourish, given liberal policy reforms,” the World Economic Forum said in one of its analysis reports.
    The MFTS programme has since garnered the world’s attention. Earlier, Borge Brende, president, WEF, referred to Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao and said, “Your leadership in transforming Telangana into a technology powerhouse is noteworthy. Telangana’s role will be crucial in making India the global hub for innovation and technology."
    When the world has been analysing drone projects like these to learn more about the feasibility of this technology, the World Economic Forum released a report that explored various aspects of the MFTS programme — from conceptualisation to implementation. It also shed light on interesting aspects of the growing drone technology. Here are some mentioned in the report:
    Perks of technology and training
    There has been a perception that although innovative technology leads to a loss of employment, it has a positive effect on society, the WEF report said.
    Besides this, the report also suggested that people "with limited experience can operate drones and refine apps with the aid of short-term training programmes".
    Even when trials were carried out in Telangana, appropriate orientation and training were given to paramedics on drone operations and cold-chain handling.
    “The SOPs, along with training decks, were shared with the participating organizations. Virtual training was conducted a week before the trials started, followed by several sessions of on-the-ground training for the drone companies as well as for the paramedics and other staff involved in the trials,” the report said while explaining the process.
    Use of drones in healthcare infrastructure
    In its analysis, the WEF report said, there is an irrefutable need to use drones in the health sector. These aerial systems can make delivery medicines possible in the golden hour. This way, authorities can distribute life-saving equipment such as defibrillators or aspirin tablets and provide essential facilities to those living in backward areas.
    Managing drone is easy
    Multiple drone operations within the same airspace and beyond the visual line of sight can be safely managed through Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) systems, the WEF report noted. UTM is a plane coordinate grid system named for the map projection on which it is based (Transverse Mercator).
    Drones — a force multiplier
    "Drones are a force multiplier for existing infrastructure," the report said, adding the technology will also "power up" supply chain.
    "Even in the case of medical deliveries, drones will power up the intermodal supply chain alongside vans, ambulances and motorbikes," The report said.
    "Drone solutions do not apply only to the last mile but also have immense potential in the middle mile. Regulations, technology advancements and awareness must go hand-in-hand," the report said.
    The success of medical drone deliveries in Telangana, and even in Africa's Rwanda, has drawn the world's focus on these aerial systems. But the question is — are drones the future? Well, it is likely that the drone industry might see a boost soon with the technology being now incorporated in various other sectors of the country. Even in the health industry, the WEF says, "It is now broadly accepted that drones present a tremendous opportunity to address supply-chain shortcomings in the healthcare sector".
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