Importance of Drones and UAVs in the Current Pandemic Situation
Drones, also known as UAVs, are unmanned aircraft with no on-board crew or passengers in it. They are pilotless vehicles that can either be remotely controlled or are pre-programmed for a specific mission (initially used for military purposes). Unmanned aircrafts systems predominantly include the unmanned aerial vehicle, a remote controller, and a system of communications between them. Drones and UAVs were initially designed to fly for a long time at a controlled level of speed and height. Now, they come in various sizes and serve a multitude of purposes. Some Drones and UAVs are autonomous, while some are remote-controlled. Some are short flight drones while some are large, and which can operate for a couple of hours. They are designed for low flying or are capable of scaling greater heights.
The earliest use of Drones and UAVs dates back to 1849 when the Austrians used unmanned balloons loaded with explosives to attack the Italian city of Venice. With time the role of Drones and UAVs has evolved. They are now used in many applications – aerial survey, security and surveillance, and logistics.
Importance of Drones and UAVs in the current situation
With more than 21 million people infected with COVID-19 around the world, the coronavirus outbreak has made it difficult for human beings to live a normal life. Health authorities and other officials are finding new ways to handle the critical situation. While everyone is scared by the threat posed by the virus, local organizations have come up with new ways to help the people.
The pandemic situation has brought in an unsurprising boom for remote technologies, virtual services, and business delivery systems to promote social distancing. One among them is the Drones and UAVs industry which has gained more and more popularity with its innovative solutions to help the public. In this blog, we address how drones are used to combat the pandemic situation.
Surveillance and Broadcast
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in unprecedented situations that are expected to have a long-term impact across the globe. To avoid the spread of the infection, authorities across the globe have limited mass gatherings in public areas. However, given the fact that we have to live with coronavirus, people will congregate for personal reasons and it is difficult to manage them using traditional surveillance methods.
Drones and UAVs provide an ideal solution in such situations. Police officials and other government authorities in many countries are using drones fitted with cameras to surveil streets, zones, and large public spaces and monitor the movement of every individual in the restricted area. Speakers are mounted on drones to broadcast messages and information about the lockdown measures, restricted zones, necessary precautions, etc.
Since the COVID-19 virus is highly contagious, human-to-human contact has to be minimized. To support the situation, Drones and UAVs are proving to be a valuable tool when delivering medicines and other essential items such as household goods, groceries, medicines, first-aid kit and also food to the local people who are either in red zones or restricted containment areas.
Aerial Spraying and Disinfection
Drones and UAVs have been used to spray disinfectant liquids on crops in a huge agricultural area.
Since the novel coronavirus is transmitted via respiratory droplets and has the tendency to spread by touching contaminated surfaces, health authorities and government officials are using drones to spray disinfectants, to keep the public areas clean and prevent further spread of the virus. This method is much more efficient than traditional methods, as it covers large areas in a short time while minimizing exposure of health workers.
As the world slowly accepts the fact that we need to learn to live with Coronavirus, more and more people are stepping out for their personal and professional needs. This poses a great challenge for governments and enforcement agencies in effectively monitoring and controlling the situation. Using the traditional methods of screening are mostly man-managed and have their own limitations. It is also challenging to check the infected individual in a huge crowd or public gathering.
Drones and UAVs fitted with infrared cameras can be used to measure body temperature, check heart rate, and also detect when a person coughs in a crowd. They have the capability to scan multiple people at a time and provide real-time, accurate data for active monitoring, isolation, and control.
As the battle against COVID-19 continues, new versatile technologies are required to monitor and control the outbreak effectively. Drones are proving to be a crucial tool during this pandemic and have immense utility, due to their unlimited potential and compact size. Several research organizations are working on setting up charging station in remote areas for automated drones to ensure a smooth operation.
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