The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is changing the way people interact and businesses operate. In a world where lockdown measures and social distancing have become the new norm, drones are playing a key role in helping authorities and governments in different ways to contain the spread of the outbreak, says GlobalData, a leading data analytics company.
Manish Dixit, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With the traditional approaches failing to contain the spread of COVID-19, authorities and governments are looking at disruptive technologies such as drones to ensure social distancing, conduct temperature checks, monitor public gathering, spray disinfectants, deliver medicines along with surveillance and monitoring among others.”
GlobalData’s Disruptor Database, which analyses and showcases real-world examples of vital use cases across disruptive technologies, reveals how drones are increasingly becoming crucial to contain the COVID-19 spread in these unprecedented times.
Surveillance and monitoring
To ensure people stay within their homes, especially in containment zones, drones equipped with cameras and speakers are being used to keep an eye not only on lockdown violations but also to broadcast information and messages related to COVID-19. MicroMultiCopter (MMC), an industrial drone manufacturer, is leveraging drones for aerial broadcasting and surveillance. These drones are equipped with cameras to provide updates on the ground condition and also identify individuals who don’t comply with the lockdown norms as well.
Draganfly Innovations, a developer and manufacturer of drones and aerial video systems has developed ‘pandemic drones’ to monitor and detect people having COVID-19 symptoms. These drones are equipped with specialized sensors and leverage computer vision to detect people with symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to a larger group of people at an early stage without any human intervention.
DJI, a Shenzhen-based producer of drones and quadcopters, is working with Chinese authorities in Shenzhen to disinfect public places along with factories, residential areas, hospitals, and other areas that potentially could have been previously occupied by infected patients. The disinfectant spraying drones could potentially reduce the risk to frontline workers working in the infected areas and also cover a large area in a shorter time making them more effective than traditional methods of disinfectant spraying.
Medical supply & delivery
The use of medical supply and grocery delivery drones limit the contact opportunities among the people who come in contact with the goods. Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has rolled out a drone delivery system to supply essential goods to the residents of Virginia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a mobile app, customers can order items online, wherein the drone picks up the order from the respective delivery facility. Alphabet’s drone delivery can aid consumers to buy essentials via Wing without compromising the safety measures.
Drones are playing a critical role in surveying mapping areas where hospitals are being constructed and inspecting large areas to assess the impact of the virus. In countries like China, the US and Germany, drones are being leveraged to map the areas required to construct hospitals with minimal human involvement. Furthermore, drones are being used to illuminate areas designated for construction activity in the COVID-19 hotspots.
Dixit concludes: “In a world ruled by social distancing, drones are stepping up the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak by minimizing human interactions and limiting cross-infection among frontline workers. The use of drones also lowers the cost of combating the disease as well as increases the effectiveness by being quicker, safer and a cost-effective solution in the ever-evolving complex environments.”