Flipkart Health, a subsidiary of Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, has initiated a pilot test for drone-based medicine deliveries in Kolkata and nearby suburbs. The pilot will be conducted in partnership with Skye Air Mobility, and will cover a total aerial distance of 16 kilometres and 20 flights per day.
The drone deliveries will be done between the medical warehouses of Flipkart Health, and its over-the-counter healthcare outlets. Each drone will carry payloads of around 5kg, and the trial phase will continue until September 8.
The primary drone to be used during the trial is the Skye Ship One — which the company has previously claimed to have completed over 1,200 flights with. The latter can cover over 20 kilometres aerial distance in around 30 minutes.
Skye Air said in its announcement that it will also use its new long-range drone, Artemis, to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone delivery trials. Unveiled in May this year, the drone can fly at 100kmph for 90 minutes, with a payload capacity of 6 kilograms.
Drone delivery trials have been steadily picking up pace in the country. On August 15, Bengaluru-based Redwing Aerospace announced a pilot drone delivery project with the Arunachal Pradesh government to deliver medicines and carry diagnostics samples to and from the remote town of Seppa in East Kameng.
The pilot was supported by the World Economic Forum’s ‘Medicines From The Sky’ initiative.
Commercial drone delivery initiatives are tipped to help reduce the time taken and ease the process of deliveries and commutes. India’s liberalised drone policy, according to industry stakeholders, has enabled drone manufacturers and service providers to tap a nascent industry in the country.
For instance, last month, Skye Air partnered with Gurugram, Haryana-based Curefoods to enable delivery of frozen foods from the company’s warehouse to its cloud kitchen outlet.