Today, technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, GIS and Mapping, Location Technology, and autonomous machines are playing a growing role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in this battle against this invisible enemy, drones are playing a vital role in preventing a further spread of this virus. Without a doubt, drone technology is rapidly growing in popularity and its usage today is heavily boosted by the pandemic scene.
Video Credits: Wing, World Economic Forum
First and foremost, they are increasingly catering to different needs and functions. Be it, to ensure quick delivery of essential things at the rush hour or scanning an unreachable place which is humanly impossible. Drones today have come to be crucially beneficial as they have taken over functions where man is unable to reach or perform a given task in a timely and efficient fashion.
Secondly, they have not just proven to become an integral part of various business and government functions but have also managed to penetrate through areas where industries were either stagnant or lagging in every possible way.
Let’s look at how drones are being used effectively to perform various business and government functions.
5 Trending Drone Technology Applications
1. Delivering food, groceries, and medicines
Firstly, drones today are increasingly used to deliver food, essential items, and medicines to customers at their doorsteps. Thereby, curbing the virus spread rate to a great extent. Their usage is especially high in countries like China, Australia, and the USA.
Amazon is rolling out drones capable of cutting delivery times down to half an hour. Using buckets, the drones can carry nearly items weighing 5 pounds (2.2kg). Isn’t that amazing?
Did you know? In certain remote areas of Africa where human transport would take forever, drones are used to ship the critical life-saving medical equipment and other necessary medication.
The need for medical supplies and testing kits are more now than ever. And drones prove to be the safest and fastest way to deliver medical supplies and transport samples from hospitals to laboratories. Thus, drone technology not only speeds up the delivery of essential medical supplies and samples but also reduces the risk of exposure to medical staff. Thereby, making a major difference in efforts to combat the disease.
Secondly, with virus spread-rate skyrocketing – life drones are used to monitor things, people, and places.
Did you know? During the peak of the epidemic in China, authorities used drones equipped with infrared cameras to measure the temperature of people who were stuck in their houses during the lockdown.
To add on, governments across the world have implemented social distancing, ban on mass gatherings, hygiene, and other policies in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. And to monitor if people are adhering to these policies, law enforcement authorities such as the local police or municipal authorities are using drones to monitor people’s movement and break up social gatherings that could pose a risk to society. The introduction of drones at this time of crisis is greatly reducing the risk of infection and virus spread-rate as it enabling authorities to monitor the vast swathe of the area without physical engagement.
Though using drones is immensely beneficial, its use for surveillance purposes raises questions about individual privacy rights and the debate on the same is still on to this date.
3. Broadcasting crucial information
In addition to street surveillance, government authorities are also using drones to broadcast messages and information about lockdown measures, especially in areas that lack open communication channels for health information. China and many European countries are using drones for broadcasting messages to the public.
Authorities use drones equipped with loudspeakers to make public announcements to encourage people to –
- stay indoors,
- take necessary precautions,
- practice social-distancing, and
- wear a mask if he/she needs to step out
4. Sanitizing/disinfecting the place
Health authorities are deploying agriculture spray drones to disinfect public spaces by spraying disinfectant in potentially affected areas. Thereby, preventing the further spread of COVID-19. Countries like China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Colombia, Chile, and the UAE are using disinfecting drones to control the spread of coronavirus.
Did you know? Spain was the first European country to use agriculture drones for disinfecting large public places.
Above all, these spraying disinfectant-filled drones cover more ground in no time. To be precise, 50 times faster than traditional methods. As per the world’s largest drone maker company – DJI, a spraying UAV can carry around 16 liters of disinfectant and cover nearly 100,000 sq. meter area in just an hour.
Most importantly, with the use of drones, the chances of health and sanitation workers getting exposed to the virus and the disinfectant are nill. In addition, they are easy to operate, are inexpensive, and can be quickly mobilized.
5. Other uses
There are many other uses of drones. Be it for shooting movies, using it for agricultural purposes, or even for military purposes. Also, using drones gives you countless benefits. Let’s look at the other uses of drones one by one:
- In several countries including China, Germany, and the United States, empty fields have been converted into temporary hospitals to ease the pressure on hospitals that are already functioning at full capacity. And drones are helping governments in surveying these areas to be able to build them more efficiently, with minimal human involvement. In Wuhan, China – authorities used drones as a light source in the construction site of a temporary hospital. Did you know? The lightning range of drones covers up to 6,000 square meters. And this can continuously illuminate for 10 hours on a single charge.
- To add on, agriculturists also use drones to get a birds-eye view of their entire land. Not just that but also to track and monitor their land and crop conditions. Also, drones make 3D mapping possible. Thereby, enabling a cautious and effective use of resources like water and fertilizers.
- Moreover, the film and the people in the video streams are increasingly using drones today to shoot their films/videos. Drones make it possible for amateur filmmakers to get aerial shots with minimal efforts and costs. This is enabling things that the general population was never able to experience. It won’t be wrong if we call drones the ‘Zen and the Art of Helicopter Maintenance’.
Drones have been around for more than 2 decades now. However, the current times have been significant in terms of drone technology application, usage, and global awareness. Their benefits are many, like:
- increasing work efficiency and productivity,
- decreasing workloads and production costs,
- improving accuracy,
- enhancing customer service and relations, and
- resolving security issues.
In conclusion, drone technology is constantly evolving, and undergoing groundbreaking progressive improvement with its 6th and 7th generation technology. That is, these smart drones with built-in safeguards, compliance technology, and a self-monitoring system will soon become the next big revolution. And without a second thought, drones will completely change the business landscape.
“Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society” – Bill Gates