Prokura Innovations: Locally produced low-cost drones for medical delivery in Nepal

UNICEF Innovation Fund Cohort: Drones

Shovan Raj Shrestha
person crossing a bridge
© UNICEF/UNI199159/Panday

06 December 2019

Nepal is home to the world's highest peaks, it also has difficult landscapes with mountainous terrains. Due to poor road infrastructure in rural regions crucial medication especially during emergencies often fails to reach healthcare posts in time. In some cases, people have to travel for days to receive the appropriate healthcare, yet some health posts lack proper diagnostic facilities and adequate medications, often having adverse effects on vulnerable children.  

Prokura Innovations aims to tackle last mile delivery of medicines using drones to connect underserved health posts to a surrounding equipped health facility.

Prokura Innovations manufactures low-cost drones locally and develops software to create a network of drones that are monitored using web and mobile interfaces and conduct deliveries by a simple click of a button. 

Every child has the right to healthcare and that right should be independent to her origin of birth. Our drones will help ensure that right.

FRONTIER TECHNOLOGY 

To date, medical delivery drones have not been implemented in Nepal. Most of the drone services focus on taking videos/photographs and mapping services. We intend to change this by using drone technology to increase access to health services.

Our team builds intelligent drones that are able to navigate surroundings, travel greater distances with heavier payloads and equipped with fail-safe mechanisms to improve their reliability.  Our system consists of a drone (multicopter/fixed wing), a mobile app for drone monitoring, a mobile app for medical inventory management, a server with the backend, and a database and launcher system for fixed wings. The drone will have a pre-programmed flight plan from the location of the health post to the health facilities.

In our mission of drone development, we will engage with the open source community so that our solution can be implemented by stakeholders with similar missions.

ON BEING OPEN SOURCE 

Open-source solutions leverage the power of the collective -- by allowing solutions to be shared freely and widely. It also fosters regular improvements in a solution as others are able to build upon the tools we’re developing.

team offsite
Prokura Innovations

TEAM 

Prokura Innovation was founded by engineering students passionate about solving problems using smarter machines. Our team consists of people from different regions of Nepal, some team members come from plainer regions prone to natural disasters like floods while other members hail from mountainous terrains, allowing us to put diverse perspectives and context-specific experiences at the forefront. 

We strongly believe that drones can be built and used in Nepal to deliver medical supplies for emergency and routine purposes.

We began prototyping locally produced drones capable of being flown manually and gradually began prototyping autonomous delivery drones. After we graduated, we met Dr. Mahabir Pun, (Ramon Magsaysay Award 2007), who shared our mission and started our company, collaborating with National Innovation Center Nepal to design, produce and test our drones.

 

WAY AHEAD

We are very excited to be a part of UNICEF’s Innovation Fund’s cohort of startups working in drone/UAV technology. Working together with like minded people drives us to work harder and achieve more together.