Authorities in India have authorized test use of drones for COVID-19 vaccinations as part of their response to the unprecedented surge of coronavirus across the country.

Drone response to COVID in India

Observers and drone experts cheered the move. The trials – initially conducted in Telangana state – require Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range limitations for authorized last-mile deliveries. However, it’s expected that those limitations and other restrictions may be loosened if initial testing proves efficient in speeding up vaccination rates. 

Indeed, some reports from India stated Beyond Visual Line of Sight  (BVLOS) waivers could be granted within the next two weeks. Unlike the current limitation, BVLOS would allow payloads of up to 7 kg (15.4 pounds) to be flown to locations 9 km (5.6 miles) distant.

The government announcement Friday came just hours before India became the first country to record more than 400,000 new cases in a 24-hour period. As the rate of…