Air ambulances will be the future of India’s healthcare scenario where rural areas can be easily connected. Wing Commander S Vijay (Veteran), COO, Skye Air Mobility reveals more in an interaction
How can Skye Air revolutionize the provision of healthcare facilities in rural and remote areas?
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, are able to reach remote areas autonomously with minimal effort, time and energy. One of the most promising drone applications is delivering packages to previously inaccessible areas. Understanding the capacity of drones, the government of Telangana and the World Economic Forum designed the “Medicine from the Sky” project to deliver health items such as drugs, COVID-19 vaccines, units of blood, plasma and other vital items from distribution centers. located in urban and semi-urban areas to SSP / CSC in rural areas and back. Skye Air is participating as a drone service provider (DSP) in these trials and is part of three out of eight consortia selected for the trial. Skye Air will operate drones, develop applications, perform data analysis, integrate workflows with government systems, design and develop drones. Thus, Skye Air is a complete solution provider and can create a delivery ecosystem for central and state government health services and private companies in the digital health sector to revolutionize healthcare facilities in rural areas and remote.
What type of healthcare logistics will you provide?
Skye Air will begin with deliveries of emergency trauma medicine, blood or plasma units, vaccines, long-tail drugs and diagnostic samples. In addition, we aim to support organ transplantation by transporting organs from the donor hospital to the recipient hospital. Going forward, Skye Air will operate unmanned air ambulances to move patients safely and in a timely manner to higher level medical facilities in order to save lives.
While the vaccination campaigns are in full swing, how can the drone support this initiative?
The vaccination campaign for COVID-19 is going to be a mammoth task even though India has a well-structured vaccination system due to its universal vaccination programs. While the country has the largest rail and road networks in the world, a new, efficient mode of vaccine transport would be needed to overcome logistical challenges as India is a large country with 67% of the population living in rural India. .
This is where a drone-based distribution system plays a vital role. The use of drones could make the delivery of essential vaccines, especially in remote areas, more accessible and faster. Using drones to deliver medical supplies will help better manage scarce supplies resources and facilitate just-in-time delivery to the current supply chain system. Intelligent inventory management and resolution of out-of-stock issues will alleviate the current burden and effectively manage the crisis.
The company plans to begin testing for BVLOS Drone flights. Who will conduct the trials and when will it be over? Have you linked up with the government for the same?
Skye Air as DSP in three of the eight consortia will conduct the BVLOS delivery trials. Trials are expected to begin during the last week of June 2021 and end by the third week of July 2021. These trials are intended for the Telangana government on a no-cost, no-obligation basis (NCNC). Indian government think tank “Niti Ayog” is closely monitoring trials to replicate the model in all Indian states commercially.
In which part of the country are you planning to launch the services?
The Telangana government plans to implement the drone delivery model in three to four districts by the last quarter of this fiscal year. As mentioned earlier, Niti Ayog is closely watching the progress of these trials for implementation across India to connect rural India and improve the reach of health articles. We are currently in discussions with various state governments for the implementation of the drone delivery model. We plan to launch the services in all Indian and UT states.
What kind of technology has been used in BVLOS drones?
Since delivery drones must cover ranges beyond visual line of sight, the radio telemetry used will be superior to regular drones and will be able to operate over the 4G / 5G telecommunications network for enhanced ranges. In addition, delivery drones are designed to take off and land vertically to facilitate the pickup and delivery of goods. In addition to VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing), the design incorporates improved battery power and aerodynamic refinements such as airframe hybrid design to achieve better cruise speeds, long distances, greater stability, capacity to recover from the loss of power due to the potential slip and a parachute for a safe landing in the event of loss of propulsion.
What is your business model? What will your five-year growth strategies be?
Skye air is a drone delivery service provider and product design and development company. We have developed delivery drones to use in our projects and also for sales. We work closely with the Indian Armed Forces to develop customized delivery solutions. Skye Air’s current focus is the delivery of emergency healthcare and logistics for the government and the private sector and is expanding the services to other deliveries like food parcels and e-commerce as policy and regulations are evolving in India. We have partnered with national and global logistics and e-commerce companies to seamlessly integrate drone delivery with their current surface-based delivery network. We want to improve urban air mobility by introducing Sky Taxi and unmanned air ambulance services in India.