Can drones help protect us from deadly viruses?
Spraying drones have transformed farming as we know it; farmers have controlled weeds, fungus and insects across millions of acres already. But can drones help in the fight of Coronavirus? That was what many drone experts suggested in China as the novel COVID-19 ravished through the country.
The Chinese government, WHO and leading drone companies started putting the suggestions into motion. Their goal was simple: disinfect public areas while protecting personnel from unnecessary exposure. Given that spraying drones have been commonplace for decades in China, their main focus was on the disinfectant. The chlorine-based chemical was readily available and after choosing the proper nozzles, the drones could be used immediately.
And so it begins…
The Chinese Military in partnership with expert drone pilots took to the streets. Given the coverage necessary, each drone covered about 100 acres in a single day. Their focus began with the public areas and small villages. Key, they projected, to avoid further spread of the Coronavirus. A variety of drones were involved in the initial efforts to combat COVID-19 including HSE’s M6E; it is still widely used in the fight against COVID-19. Check out the work our dealer partner is doing in South America!
“I think this awareness will stick with us for a long time”, says HSE-UAV’s Simone Azzalin, “places could be disinfected before big conferences, ball-games or concerts…people would probably feel better going [to those events] knowing they had been thoroughly cleaned.”
In the U.S., disinfecting drones are less common… but that is likely to change. HSE and their dealer partners are already working with local and government officials to devise how drones can fight viruses safely and effectively. Sometimes, it’s situations like this that bring out the best in ideas and technology.
How else are drones being used to fight Coronavirus / COVID-19?
Drones are also protecting communities in other ways like delivering medical supplies or aid-kits to those in need. Drones equipped with delivery systems can deliver those resources quickly while minimizing person-to-person contact. And for those people who just aren’t following the rules, police are using drone speakers to apply a bit of embarrassment.
What’s next in the fight?
Given that spraying drones were developed for spraying large, open areas – certain hardware changes will help them adapt to spraying more confined areas like convention centers and arenas. Perhaps adding large propeller guards will help protect the drones and surrounding objects. But with all-things-tech, the next steps certainly include testing, testing and more testing. So stay tuned! Who knows, maybe a drone will disinfect your next front-row seat!