National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) a constituent of CSIR, India has developed indigenous, medium class BVLOS multi-copter UAV. The UAV is made out of light weight carbon fiber foldable structure for ease of transportation and has unique features like autonomous guidance through dual redundant MEMS based digital Autopilot with advanced flight instrumentation systems. Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India has granted conditional permission to CSIR-NAL for conducting BVLOS flight trials on 13th sept 2021. NAL’s octacopter can carry a payload of 15 kg with hovering endurance of 40 minutes. It can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. Its regulatory compliance includes DGCA-NPNT, Geo fencing and digital sky with 360 degree Collison avoidance making it one of the best UAV in its class. Octacopter developed by NAL can be used for variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organ’s etc.
NAL Octacopter is integrated with Powerful on board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc. CSIR-NAL has teamed with Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka for aerial delivery of covid-19 vaccine’s in remote area. The Octacopter has successfully delivered 50 vials of Covid-19 vaccines along with syringes in a special container from Chandapura PHC to Haragadde PHC on 13th November 2021. CSIR-NAL’s octacopter took off at 9.43 am from Chandapura PHC carried covid-19 vaccines and delivered to Haragadde PHC at 9.53 am. Octacopter flown at an altitude of 300m AGL at a speed of 10m/sec and covered an aerial distance of about 7 kms in about 10 minutes. After delivery of vaccines at Haragadde the Octacopter returned back to Chandapura PHC. The entire mission has covered distance of about 14 km in 20 mins including delivery of vaccines.
Medical Officer Dr Manisha has told correspondent that usually it takes about 30-40 minutes to deliver vaccines to Haragadde from 1 Chandapura by road. The Doctors at PHCs were delighted to witness the demonstration of the fast and safe aerial delivery of vaccines. Dr Srinivas, DHO, Dr. Vinay, THO and Dr. Nalini, AMO, General Hospital, Anekal expressed their happiness and complimented the great initiative of CSIR-NAL towards the societal cause and extended support to continue the joint initiative to farthermost remote places in the coming days. Dr. P V Satyanaraya Murthy, Head UAV, CSIR-NAL while congratulating his team has said that the Octacopter for delivery of vaccines is a need of the hour of the country for a much deeper penetration of vaccines in the remote areas. NAL octacopter is perfectly designed for such a mission with easy to operate by unskilled operators. NAL has already tied up with private firms for drone manufacturing and offering operational services.