As the global pandemic – COVID-19 swept through the world in early 2020 caused more than 164,000 deaths infected more than 2 million people worldwide, it made us rethink how the governments, organizations, and societies around the world can work with minimum or zero physical contact. The technology companies are scrambled and are being forced to repurpose their products to fight the pandemic. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, GIS and Mapping, Location Technology, and autonomous machines technologies are playing an important role in combating the pandemic. However, the technologies are helping us win the war against the invisible enemy; drone technology is playing a major role in preventing the spread of the outbreak of the global pandemic. The map-making, inspecting, and delivery technology of the drone industry are being adapted to fight against the virus.
Let’s look at how drones are being used effectively to combat COVID-19.
Drones have the ability to enhance situational awareness and can help enforce lockdowns, sanitary cordons, and curfews during the pandemic. It also helps the authorities across the world to prevent the spread of the virus by taking unprecedented measures to reduce people-to-people contact. Most countries are taking measures like shutting down non-essential public places; banning mass gatherings and ensuring there is social distancing.
The healthcare authorities are using agriculture spray drones to carry out tasks like spraying disinfectants in potentially affected areas to disinfect public spaces and prevent the further spread of coronavirus. The spraying drones are filled with disinfectants that can cover more ground in less time and faster than all the traditional methods.
The drones can be easily operated; it is inexpensive and can quickly be mobilized. Additionally, it reduces the risk of healthcare and sanitation workers getting exposed to both viruses and the side effects of disinfectants.
During the peak of the epidemic, doctors and hospitals needed medical supplies and laboratory testing more than ever. And, drones are the fastest and safest ways to deliver medical supplies and transport samples from hospitals to laboratories by reducing the risk of exposure to medical staff and making a major difference in efforts to combat the disease. Drones are also being used to deliver groceries, particularly in the red zones where outside physical should be as minimal as possible.
Drones are also used to encourage physical distancing and staying home with loudspeakers on the drones. Megaphones alone do not provide the kind of situational awareness that drones with loudspeakers and cameras can provide in real-time. In addition to the bird’s eye view, drones also offer a greater level of situational awareness compared to police cars. When the drone is coupled with loudspeakers, it is easy to understand why the countries are keener to use this integrated aerial technology.
Today, drones are proving to be versatile and one of the effective tools during the coronavirus epidemic. Nevertheless, drone regulation is still in its infancy and its potential is not fully exploited. Drone deployment during the Covid-19 crisis is offering a learning opportunity to the world to use the airspace regulations and facilitate their use, also beyond emergency response.