The Telangana government successfully completed a Virtual Hazard Identification and Risk Mitigation (HIRM) workshop held to ensure drug delivery to the state by drones is safe and secure. This ensures that the state project “Medicine from Heaven” can be started soon.

According to a communication from the Telangana IT And Industries department, the procedures of this HIRM workshop are to be included as part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of all drone technology partners for approval by the DGCA. The first phase of flights with selected consortia is expected to begin in the last week of June.

How does the workshop help to secure the drone operation?

  • The workshop examined potential hazards and mitigation strategies during the upcoming trials by discussing the Operational Concept (CONOPS) and Specific Operational Risk Assessment (SORA) of the flights in Vikarabad airspace.
  • The CONOPS included a detailed description of the operation, various system checks, communication protocols, daily flight planning, roles and responsibilities of both the crew and officers, etc. to ensure that the tests ran smoothly.
  • The SORA methodology of the Joint Authorities for Rule-making on Unmanned Systems (JARUS), a group of experts from 63 countries, including India, was followed to quantify both ground and air risk.
  • From the combination of the quantified risks and the consideration of strategic and tactical weaknesses, a final score of ‘II’ was calculated for the specific security and integrity levels (Specific Assurance and Integrity Levels, SAIL). A SAIL score of “II” on a scale of “VI” indicates a low risk.

The workshop was held with all concerned stakeholders from key organizations such as the Ministry of Civil Aviation, General Directorate of Civil Aviation, Indian Airports Authority, Niti Aayog, Vikarabad District Collectorate and others.

The aim of Medicine from the Sky is to generate insights that can advance future adoption strategies and policy interventions to include drones in the healthcare supply chain. The ultimate goal is to integrate drone deliveries into existing systems and enable urban infrastructure for remote and rural areas as well – Jayesh Ranjan, chief secretary of the Telangana government

What is Medicine from Heaven?

Medicine from the Sky is an initiative of the Telangana government in partnership with the World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog and HealthNet Global. The project includes experimental drone flights of the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) to deliver vaccines using the identified airspace of the Vikarabad district.

Seven consortia made up of logistics companies and drone operators have teamed up with the Telangana government for the “Medicine in the Sky” project. Companies include logistics companies such as Mahindra Logistics, Blue Dart and Dunzo, as well as drone operators such as Sagar Defense and Marut Dronetech.

Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation granted the Telangana’s government an exemption from UAS rules 2021 and permission to conduct out-of-sight drone operations (BVLOS). Aside from approval from the Department of Civil Aviation, the Telangana government has received approval from the Airports Authority of India (AA) but is awaiting final approval from the Department of Interior, which is currently conducting a review.

While in Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) operations the drone pilot must maintain constant, sole visual contact with the unmanned aircraft, in BVLOS drone operations pilots can control a drone remotely without having to be constantly in sight.

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