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Drones and COVID-19

Multi-copter for heavy payloads

Airborne Drones Hexacopter for heavy payloads


CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA, July 29, 2020 / -- The Novel Corona Virus has literally brought the globe to a standstill. The impact of social distancing during this pandemic is so massive that its effects on carbon emissions are visible from space. Pictures circulating show once bustling cities now eerily only occupied by penguins, ducks, kangaroos or goats.

COVID-19 also happens to coincide during the current wave of Digitalization.

Accelerated digitization. Here to stay.

In the times of ‘touch-me-not’ conditions, drones, and other digital technologies, are man’s new best friends: Video conferencing, teleworking, tele-education, telehealth are among the many technologies being deployed to overcome social distancing during periods of lockdown, and of which many are expected to persist afterwards.

In a report on ‘The digital-led recovery from COVID-19’ Mckinsey (March 2020) claims that: ‘A digital future lies ahead’.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has played a vital role in accelerating the adoption of the use of drones in a growing list of unconventional tasks, which highlighted ways on how drones can speed up the fight against coronavirus disease COVID-19 and strengthen the enforcement of the stay at home campaign.

“Drones will be an essential part of the daily lives of humans and will be as vital as phones are to everyone today.”

In some countries, like Malaysia, this push for digitization in amid coronavirus crises is a conscious one. This prioritization of digital technologies is ensuring they achieve a necessary critical mass while also changing consumer behavior. It seems that the novel coronavirus is likely accelerate 4IR.

KEY WAYS in which DRONES contribute

As we have seen in search and rescue missions across the globe – navigating devastated areas destroyed by Hurricanes – drones have become powerful tools to visualize expansive areas and communicate in complicated areas. Drones, like robots, are naturally effective at minimizing human interactions, which – communications, remote actions, deliver, observe/sense (monitor), especially in treacherous areas/conditions from bomb disposal to combating COVID-19.


The arrival of COVID-19 has seen new ways being found for drones to help slow the spread of COVID-19 infections.

For example, drones:
• deliver toilet paper in Florida
• deliver car keys in China
• transport medical goods transport in China.
• spraying disinfectant in France, Chennai, India, Surabaya, Indonesia, and other crowded cities.
• deliver critical medical supplies or lab samples in areas without the proper infrastructure.

Delivery of Critical Supplies

• During periods of lockdown a strain is put on package and food delivery systems, which are themselves a potential vector of contamination.
• “Medical delivery drones” have been used to: fly quarantine supplies and medical samples.
o contactless deliveries take humans out of the process to decrease COVID-19’s rate of spreading.
o bringing COVID-19 testing samples to laboratories by drones, helps the quick diagnosis and quarantining of infected citizens.
o used to safely transport medical supplies into hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated avoids the danger to the average courier, who might contract the disease and then go on to infect even more people, but delivery drones make this task safe.

Drone-Based Distribution Networks

Creating DRONE HIGHWAYS can allow medical and parcel deliveries almost immediately. Those who are at a heightened risk to COVID-19 stand to benefit more from drone services. They are already being urged to avoid highly trafficked areas to deter potential infection.

The following areas of distribution are affected.

Densification of the 'last mile'
Residents of cities that rely on public transportation end up having very limited access to essential services such as grocery stores during a lockdown. Drones would effectively expand the number of options for grocery stores and other services in these cities, which would help with supply issues and maintaining social distancing. This also applies to medical care:
• drones are able to reduce human involvement in the medical supply chain (a vector for infection), while reducing hospital overcrowding by making it more practical for non-urgent patients to receive care in local clinics closer to home.
• In addition to delivering blood products and medication, items such personal protective equipment (PPE), or even COVID vaccines, can also be delivered as needed by drone, ensuring that this surge in demand is met across the entire healthcare network.

Rapid delivery to rural distribution points
Drones would also assist in remote areas, where grocery stores and other key services are not restocked as quickly.

Direct to rural homes
Drones could also deliver goods directly to homes in rural communities rather than to a central distribution centre such as a grocery store.

Initial results show this so-called urban-air transportation channel “significantly reduces contact between samples and personnel, as well as improves delivery speed” — more than 50% faster than ground delivery.

Disinfecting Common Areas

Drones can be a game-changer in fighting coronavirus & facilitate spraying disinfectants in hospitals and public places like railway stations & bus stands where traffic is high.

Inspection and Broadcast

These same capabilities have been critical to oversee and communicate in dense, urban areas during the panic around COVID-19. With drones, officers can more efficiently scan an area and broadcast a message, such as to put on your mask or remain inside if the area is infected. All while simultaneously keeping officials away from close contact with potentially infected people.

Sentinel Surveillance

While the temperature checking process has proven effective overall, it has one risk point – the personnel conducting the temperature checks. As they measure each person with a handheld infrared thermometer, they may come into close contact with the virus and become a spreader themselves.

To limit this one risk point, some teams are using drones equipped with infrared cameras to test temperature measurements.

Airborne Drones is a specialist manufacturer of long-range drones.

MR GP Gerber
Airborne Drones
+27 87 550 4319
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