Fighting Coronavirus By Drone

Article read and created by Peter Diamandis Weekly Blog

Right now, drones above various parts of China are sharing information on loudspeakers, carrying signs with QR codes (for no-contact registration purposes), spraying disinfectant, delivering packages, and taking people’s temperatures.

To conduct temperature measurements, drones use infrared thermal imaging, which has not only proven more accurate than human-conducted readings, but also massively expedites the evacuation of community personnel. Simultaneously, drone readings have helped reduce close contact between community workers and residents, minimizing risk of secondary infection.

Shenzhen-based DJI has created a 10 million RMB fund to fight the Coronavirus, funding drone-enabled disinfection and protocols. Meanwhile, XAG — China’s No. 1 agriculture drone tech company — set up a 50 million RMB fund to use drones for disinfection in remote areas.

And in a surging nationwide effort, more and more Chinese towns have used plant protection drones to carry out disinfection operations during the outbreak. In Shandong province, for instance, villagers of Huji town used only two plant protection UAVs to disinfect about 480,000 square meters of the village in less than an afternoon.

But beyond agricultural uses, UAVs are now conducting unmanned delivery of medical supplies and the like. Having taken its maiden flight on February 6, a now routine drone flies to the center for disease control in Xinchang County, spanning the nation’s first anti-epidemic “urban air transport channel.”

Other unmanned delivery devices, such as in Wuhan, have transported medical supplies between JD logistics stations and local hospitals, avoiding vehicles and pedestrians in transit. And early on, Zhejiang Xinchang People’s Hospital took the lead in using drones to transport samples for examination. Capable of automatically transporting up to 4kg of supplies between two unmanned stations without human operation, these drones tremendously reduce the risk of cross-infection.

How might our own local and state governments coordinate similar drone routes with hospitals, retirement homes, apartment buildings, aid centers, and others?

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