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Game Of Drones: The Unmanned Future Of the Industry Some of the most exciting potential applications come from the use of drones in the delivery of essential, healthcare and medical deliveries at customers' doorsteps

By Ankit Kumar

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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have long been welcomed across industries. Businesses have realized that drones have multiple commercial applications, some of which go beyond basic surveillance, photography, or videos, and they are already using them to transform daily work in some industries.

Drones powering last-mile delivery is a predictable part of the future. Some of the most exciting potential applications come from the use of drones in the delivery of essential, healthcare and medical deliveries at customers' doorsteps. Hospitals in remote areas in the country which are deprived of medical amenities will get quick and timely assistance through drones.

Experts have indicated that there are two verticals that would be the showstopper of the drone industry—delivery and advanced air mobility. The modern healthcare system represents some of the greatest achievements of the human intellect to improve the quality of people's lives. Yet, in this modern age, many people in rural and underdeveloped quarters of the world still lack access to basic healthcare. Closing these gaps has gained a new urgency during the current pandemic, which has made clear how interconnected all of our health outcomes are.

In the current scenario, governments and large private companies such as Dunzo, Skye Air and others are exploring opportunities drones offer in terms of medical, package and food deliveries. There are many hospitals which urgently need blood for patients and cannot get it timely from the blood banks. The irony of the situation is that a pizza reaches in 30 minutes but medical supplies take hours and days.

However, with the advent of technologies, drones are making it possible to deliver emergency medical supplies (blood packets, vaccines, long-tail medics) to remote healthcare centers. With the use of drones, within an area of 100-150 km, the deliveries are now possible. Frontline workers can easily place orders by text message or call and promptly receive their deliveries in 30 minutes or less. These specialized drones could fly into remote areas with supplies that are tailored for such situations. Deliveries can be made in multiple ways, however, the most common way being followed includes land and delivery through string mechanism.

Drones could also be used for the speedy delivery of donated organs, thereby avoiding the expense of hiring air transport and dodging the traffic thereby potentially saving more lives. Therefore, it's high time we think of a future where packages would reach in minutes instead of days.

Drones for healthcare logistics have recently seen a range of landmark moments. Drones have already been used with great success in places such as Haiti, where they delivered much-needed aid packages after the 2010 earthquake. In the event of a serious disaster, drones could take to the skies with the supplies that are essential to keeping individuals alive and healthy, even for extended periods of time. From medications to water and emergency rations, drones get the supplies to the affected areas quickly without the agonizingly long wait that can occur when roads are cut off and airports are shut down.

With healthcare drone deliveries being permitted in the future, this will create a lot of job opportunities and the drone industry would emerge as one of the sunrise industries creating millions of employment.

Another high potential segment is AAM (advanced air mobility) which can help people save time that they end up wasting on the road. With AAM, the intra-city and inter-city travel would go a new dimension and will become easy. One can travel from Vashi to the Mumbai Airport in just 10 minutes. Similarly, hilly areas such as Uttarakhand, Ladakh and the north-east of India would prefer AAM in emergency situations rather than a car or ambulance.

Considering the optimistic environment, the right set of people, favourable government regulations and aerial technological advancements, drone delivery and advanced air mobility will be a game changer very soon.

Besides there are immense business opportunities not just in the space of delivery but also in rescue and search missions, home security, decreasing workload and production cost infrastructure, surveying and mapping, inspection activities in mining, oil and gas, transmission lines, telecom towers, etc.

Ankit Kumar

Founder & Managing partner of AGI

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