COVID-19, a pandemic - has infected at least 2 million people all over the world and has caused almost approximately 170,000 deaths so far... In order to control and maintain the safety of populations, governments all over the world have implemented lockdowns. People have been restricted to their homes for more than a month (May 2020). Organizations, Governments, and societies need to think of better ways to can continue their operations with minimum physical contact.
Advanced technologies like GIS, Mapping, Data, Artificial Intelligence, surveillance cameras, and autonomous machines are playing a role in combating the pandemic. Drones are playing an active role in fighting this invisible menace. Governments and other authorities are using the drone technology to stop the further spread of COVID-19.
Let’s have a look at how drones are being used to carry on the essential life operations:
1. Grocery and Medicine Deliveries
Residential compounds and hospitals need daily supplies more than ever. Doctors are in need of medical kits and laboratory testing equipment to perform their operations. During all of this chaos, the need of the hour was to make use of a technology that can ensure minimum to no physical contact.
In this difficult time, drones are being used to fulfill the needs of the people. A lot of countries used drones as the fastest and the effective way to deliver groceries, supply medicines, and take samples from hospitals to laboratories.
On Feb 06, 2020, Wuhan, the epicenter of this pandemic, used an autonomous drone to deliver medical supplies and groceries. This drone also covered the areas where traditional delivery routes were closed.
see here for an example for drone deliveries:
2. Monitoring People’s Movement
An important responsibility of the authorities across the globe is to control the spread of this outbreak. Almost every country has banned mass gatherings and closed unnecessary public places to implement social distancing and limit person-to-person contact.
However, there are still some areas where people are not taking these measures seriously and not complying with the restrictions. That’s why law enforcement authorities like police are using drones to monitor the movement of people to break all types of social gatherings.
The drone based surveillance cameras are in use to ensure that people are safe and staying in their homes. This technology is greatly helping authorities to monitor a lot of areas at once without any kind of physical engagement, drones can cover distances easily and quickly, results are real-time.
3. Messages and Information Broadcast
Drones are performing the job of broadcasting information and sending messages or announcements especially to the rural areas that lack proper communication channels. China and several other European countries are using sky speakers with drones to spread messages of social distancing, wearing masks, taking necessary precautions, and staying indoors.
4. Spraying Disinfectant in Affected Areas
Health authorities are taking benefit of agricultural spray drones to spray disinfectant in the areas where COVID-19 is spreading fast. The spraying drones carry disinfectant in them and cover vast public spaces in less than an hour. Their speed and function is far better than the already-used traditional processes.
Drones are quite easy to operate and reach hard-to-access areas as well. They reduce the health risk by preventing health workers from being exposed to virus. Many countries like China, Indonesia, UAE, India, and Colombia have successfully used drones to disinfect their public areas. Spain was the first ever country that used agricultural drone for spraying disinfectant in public spaces.
5. Temperature Check through Thermal Cameras
During the peak of this virus in China, the health authorities used thermal cameras attached to drones to get remote temperature measurement in hard-to-reach areas. The operation was carried out on a large scale since people were highly worried about face-to-face contact and catching the infection.
6. Other Common Uses
The UK, United States, Germany, and China among others have used large empty spaces to construct temporary hospitals to treat more and more patients and lighten the pressure on hospitals. Authorities are using drones to survey these areas as well as a source of light to keep spaces illuminated. China used 6 lighting drones placed 50 meter above the ground to provide light to almost 6,500 square meter area. These drones provided light for 10 hours continuously with one charge!
As you can see from the evidence above drones are playing a larger part in everyday usage and imagination is only the limit for what they be used for in the future.
If you want us to talk about this topic in detail, feel free to contact HeliDrone Surveys.