Several industries are beginning to use drones for mapping and surveillance. However, the most anticipated use of drones is drone delivery. Since the inception of the multi-rotor quadcopter, drone delivery has been a dream for all technology enthusiasts. Companies like Zipline, Flytrex, Amazon, and Google Wing have already made big strides in drone delivery programs. In India, Throttle Aerospace is leading the way towards making BVLOS drone delivery a reality.
Throttle Aerospace Systems Pvt. Ltd. (TAS) is a Bangalore-based drone manufacturer. It has been developing NPNT compliant drones for a couple of years. Its Lookout VTOL drone is fully NPNT compliant and is listed on the Digital Sky platform. It has been testing drone delivery operations since 2016. In 2019 it partnered with Spice Jet and Dunzo to test long-range drones. During the pandemic, the company developed its MedCOPTER drones to carry out drone deliveries of medical supplies. In June 2021, the company received DGCA clearance to carry out Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) testing.
Medical BVLOS Drone Delivery Trials
Throttle Aerospace’s latest consortium along with Honeywell will carry out BVLOS drone trials in Gauribidanur taluk in Chikballapur District of Karnataka. The DGCA cleared the company to commence trials from 18th June 2021. The trials will primarily carry out medical drone deliveries to remote areas.
Throttle Aerospace Systems’ CEO, Nagendran Kandasamy, stated, “Two other consortia also have permission for BVLOS experiments, but ours is the first legal/official medical drone delivery experiment. We have come a long way since 2016 and are at a pivotal moment. After a long wait, we now have an official go-ahead from the BVLOS Experiment Monitoring Committee (BEMC) and we look forward to leveraging commercial drone delivery in India soon.”
The trial is expected to last for 30-45 days, wherein two MedCOPTER drones will be flown for a minimum of 100 hours. Additionally, TAS has partnered with Narayana Healthcare to analyze the kind of medicines that can be delivered through drones.
The MedCOPTER Drones
- The MedCOPTER-X4: The X4 is a Small category quadcopter that is NPNT compliant. It can carry a payload of up to 1kg. The lightweight drone is made up of carbon fiber composite. This makes it extremely durable. Its flight time is 45 minutes with a 500gms payload and 25 minutes with a 1kg payload. The X4 has a transmission range of 18km.
- The MedCOPTER-X8: The X8 is the second generation medical drone by Throttle Aerospace. It’s a coaxial octo-copter, It can carry a payload of up to 8kg. The X8 has a higher endurance compared to the X4. With a 1kg payload it can fly for 30 minutes, and 20 minutes with a 2kg payload. Its maximum range is 12km.
The pandemic has helped the advantages of drones in logistics come under the spotlight. With the vaccination program in full swing, drones are proving as effective tools to deliver vaccines to remote areas. Throttle Aerospace’s BVLOS trials can open up new pathways for drone manufacturers across India.