Medical Delivery in Nangi, Myagdi
Nangi is small village in the mid-hills of Nepal. Nangi village is located in western Nepal on the Southern flank of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges of the Himalayas. Dhaulagiri I (8,167 m, 26,795 ft) and Annapurna I (8091 m, 26,545 ft) are the seventh and the tenth highest peaks of the world.
Reaching Nangi usually requires two to three days of traveling from Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, it is a seven hour bus ride or 35 minute plane trip to Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. From Pokhara, one must travel by bus or taxi for 3 to 5 hours to reach to get to Beni, the nearest major town to Nangi.
The hike into Nangi usually takes between six to nine hours, and includes an ascent through several mountain villages and forests. The elevation of Nangi village is about 2,260 m. (7,345 ft). It takes about 3 hours in a very nauseating trip to Nangi in a vehicle like Scorpio or Bolero.
Being the home of Dr. Mahabir Pun, the chairman of National Innovation Center, Nepal, he decided it would be the ideal testing grounds of our drones. Our aim was to test our drones for payload delivery in high altitudes of Nepal and also prove that medical deliveries are possible in Nepal.
We had 4 large-sized tin boxes where we had our drones and other equipment. Our goal was to deliver a payload to Ramche, a small village close to Nangi. The aerial distance to Ramche was close to about 1.2km, however, it would take a person around 3 hours to reach Ramche on foot. There were no roads from Nangi to Ramche, so it was very difficult.
We had one Octocopter and one Fixed wing. The octocopter was fully autonomous and it dropped a 600 grams payload at Ramche travelling a total of 2.4 km forth and back. The fixed wing was tested for its aerodynamics, control and mobility and the results were fantastic. The test flights of both octocopter and fixed wing were successful but reliability and sustained communication were an issue.
We had a really good experience with the drones and test flights. It was a clear indications for us that medical payload delivery using drones is applicable in our country and we should strive to make it a reality.