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API Holding's RetailIO successfully pilots drone-based medicine delivery

The test-flight was focused on delivering critical lifesaving medicines to hospitals in under 10 minutes, maintaining the cold chain and all the norms

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drone delivery | pharmacy

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

API Holding's RetailIO successfully pilots drone-based medicine delivery

API Holding’s RetailIO, the digital platform, which connects pharmacies and wholesalers, said it has successfully conducted drone deliveries in Karnataka’s Gauribidanur in collaboration with healthcare autonomous drone logistics company Redwing Labs.

The pilot was focused on delivering critical lifesaving medicines to hospitals in under 10 minutes, maintaining the cold chain and all the norms. The team conducted four trips with different product mixes. The pilot took place between Gauribidanur and Hossur Primary Healthcare centre (PHC) in Chickkaballapur district using a Hybrid VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) drone with a Payload capacity of up to 2 kgs. With an average speed of 90 kmph the drone covered an aerial distance of about 10 km under 8 minutes.

“We believe autonomous drone systems are the future and will help the ecosystem get better. This is the future and we will continue to focus on such kinds of innovations,” said Harsh Parekh, co-founder, API Holdings. “The VTOL drone was used in the demonstration and is 100 per cent electric. Drone-based delivery networks could result in over 90 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to using vans and cars”

Mithil Jain, CEO, RetailIO 1P said the vision to integrate drones in the healthcare ecosystem is a critical step towards efficient medicine delivery. “We feel autonomous drones at scale would bring in a lot of disruption in healthcare delivery,” said Jain. “With an exceptional response time, life-saving medicines can be delivered at lightning speeds. The success of the pilot opens up tremendous opportunities to provide exceptional service and healthcare supplies to the remotest part of the country.”

This trial opens up a plethora of opportunities in improving healthcare delivery for multiple stakeholders. This together with numerous such applications has tremendous potential to augment the entire ecosystem. Limited access is one of the most serious concerns in Indian healthcare. For every 10,000 people, India has only about 9 doctors, compared to 26 and 20 doctors per 10,000 people in the US and China respectively. In rural areas, only four doctors are available for every 10,000 people. As a result, only 11 out of 29 states in India meet the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 1:1000 doctor to population ratio and 10 Indian states face a shortage of doctors at a primary care level.

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First Published: Fri, January 21 2022. 17:16 IST
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