With more than 3,000,000 people infected around the world, we have seen how in just a short period the Coronavirus has impacted our entire lives; affecting how we meet each other, how we work and how our children are being educated. This Pandemic is pushing health authorities to research and develop new ways to react to critical situations that seemed unbelievable just a few months ago.
China was the first country to show symptoms, but now the main problems are being faced by Europe and the USA; showing the great weaknesses that exist in public health and causing an unprecedented crisis in human history. Public and private organizations have started a race to develop experimental treatments and vaccines to fight COVID 19. At the same time, many local companies are trying to think outside the box to find ways to help to minimize the effects of the crisis. Our current situation has opened up opportunities for innovative solutions and we are best seeing them within the drone industry.
Drones have been deployed as part of efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic. We’ve seen drones distributing public information, like voice messages, to those not following social distancing measures as well as delivering medical samples and spraying disinfectants to urban areas. Unmanned solutions are easy to operate and can be quickly mobilized. In addition to reducing the risk of health of sanitary workers, drones also get to unreachable places; they have become a versatile tool for managing this health catastrophe.
In Europe, several startups like Quaternium, Drone Tools, and Manna Aero and in the US and Canada companies such as Zipline and Draganfly are all exploring how they can help in their regions and neighboring countries to decrease the aftermaths of the pandemic and save more lives.
Quaternium has successfully been testing its hybrid drone, HYBRiX, to spray disinfectant products in Spain, showing how drone technology may serve in critical situations and devotedly offer their support to public authorities to help end the spread of the virus.
The company has also demonstrated aerial logistics solutions by delivering essential items to people in critical situations. Long endurance drones can deliver supplies specifically for COVID-19 efforts, such as masks and gloves to first responders. Hybrix can also deliver medicine to patients who can’t safely get to a pharmacy.
In the US, the Police Department is using drones from Impossible Aerospace, to limit personal contact and share COVID-19 information, to reach out to homeless people, who are particularly at risk for coronavirus and to monitor and enforce social distancing.
These are some of the areas where drones are being used to fight COVID-19:
Due to COVID-19 being so contagious, it’s safer if human-to-human contact is minimized. UAVs are proving to be a valuable tool when delivering medical samples and essential items to health personnel. Several Drone Companies have made tests showing the crucial role that unmanned logistics can play against the spread of COVID-19.
Inform and prevent
In the last weeks, we have seen speakers being mounted on drones to help inform people outdoors and prevent public gatherings. Drones can also be found flying with banners advising people on how to be more precautious when going outside. The mobility and flexible use of these UAVs make the mission of Security Agencies simpler, while avoiding close contact with the population
Aerial spraying and disinfection
First in China and now in Europe and USA, agriculture drones, originally designed to spray liquids in crops are being adapted to spray disinfecting chemicals in public spaces and impacted areas. Experts discovered that Coronavirus is mainly transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces. This new virus has shown to be very contagious and resistant, staying in some surfaces up to 30 days, which makes disinfectant spray vital to help reduce transmission mechanisms.
The battle with COVID-19 has just begun. Cases are continuing to rise in and outside of Europe. Now more than ever, public authorities and private companies need to join forces in order to grow stronger and overcome this pandemic together.