Government of India invites bids for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to remote areas by drones
The government of India has invited bids for the use of drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and drugs to remote and difficult-to-reach areas to ensure last-mile coverage in select locations of the country.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted a successful feasibility study in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and has developed a standard protocol for the delivery of vaccines using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), according to the bid document.
On behalf of the ICMR, the HLL Infra Tech Services Limited (Procurement Support Agency) has invited expression of interest (EOI) through the Central Public Procurement Portal from experienced Indian agencies for the delivery of medical supplies (vaccines/drugs) by UAVs.
According to the tender criteria, the ICMR shall engage UAV operators who are able to conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in fixed pre-defined flight paths, deliver medical supplies payload at select locations in India and return to the command station.
During the prevailing pandemic, different agencies are helping the government prevent and control the transmission of COVID-19.
To strengthen the delivery of vaccines, the ICMR successfully conducted a feasibility study to deliver vaccines through UAVs in collaboration with IIT, Kanpur, the bid document stated.
According to the specifications, UAVs should be able to cover a minimum aerial distance of 35 km, able to take off vertically and carry a minimum payload of 4 kg and should be capable of returning to command station after delivering the payload.
Initially, the tenure of engagement shall be 90 days. This can be extended further depending upon the performance of the UAV operator and the need of the program.