The governments have started to increasingly use drones while the novel coronavirus pandemic keeps spreading, mainly as surveillance tools and mobile speakers to remind people to stay at home.
There are, however, other use-cases for drones, as well. Draganfly, one of the longest-existing commercial drone companies, has been developing a technology to use these devices in the coronavirus crisis by using an onboard thermal sensor and smart computer vision systems. This technology would enable them to make probable diagnoses from a distance, which could be more effective in taking temperature readings than the current way of using devices like infrared thermometers.
On Thursday, Match 26th, Draganfly stated that it has been asked and signed a contract that required it to deploy its COVID-19 sensing drones in Australia. The company is collaborating with the Australian Department of Defense and the University of South Australia and will use these ‘pandemic drones’ to remotely watch and detect people with infectious conditions to ‘help stop the advancement of the disease in Australia.’
Watching People With Drones
Utilizing onboard technology, the devices are able to check fever-related temperature, heart, and respiratory pace, as well as identifying people sneezing and coughing from a distance.
“The technology itself has not changed in the last month,” Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly, said “But what has changed is our ability to start to talk about the specifics of where and how it was developed as well as its capabilities.”
Chell mentioned that the drones would be sent to different hotspots: “Getting the tech into areas where the most amount of detection is currently required is the priority.”
It is not exactly clear when the company’s devices will be deployed to the sky for this purpose. However, Chell said that Draganfly had received numerous other questions about its pandemic drones.
“It seems that every market and industry that has been affected by this pandemic has interest at some level,” he said.