It’s no mystery that industries are finding new ways to utilize drones. Agriculture is turning to drones for crop inspection and pest control. Construction utilizes drones for site surveying and inspection. Government deploys drones to aid emergency responders. You get the idea — there aren’t many limits to how we can implement UAS technology for the betterment of many different industries.
What about using our drones in practical manners during times of public crisis? A great example of a public crisis is the recent outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), have you heard about it? Of course you have. We all have. You can’t get on social media or turn on a TV without seeing something about this global pandemic. It is everywhere, literally and figuratively.
So, how can unmanned aircraft be deployed to help fight the spread of Coronavirus?
The Chinese government used drones early in the pandemic to spray populated areas with disinfectants. While there have been concerns regarding the safety of these measures, there is no doubt that it was a clever application of the technology. It didn’t stop there. The drones were also equipped with audio devices that would remind citizens to practice safe hygiene and to stay indoors as much as possible to prevent further spread of the virus.
There have also been discussions by big international players to use drones to deliver medicine to hospitals to minimize human contact between patients and staff at the facility and the delivery service. Other conversations include using drones to deliver supplies to people who are more at-risk for severe symptoms or death such as the very young or elderly and those with immunodeficiencies. Some private companies have already started this process by making their commercial deliveries with drones and robots to mitigate risk. Drones can also be used to pick up samples for medical testing from those quarantined at home with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 rather than put medical workers at further risk by exposing them to these quarantined individuals on a regular basis.
The next question begs, what can do as independent UAS pilots to assist in our communities through the use of our drones?
Well, frankly, without an organized front there isn’t much impact independent UAS pilots can do. However, it’s never a bad idea to offer. There is potential for human resources to be very limited in the coming weeks. Between being sick with COVID-19 or another bug and minimizing risk of exposure as much as possible, having a drone to be able to assist in situations such as emergency response, public surveillance, and even varying methods of communication could relieve at least a reasonable amount of burden from our public service officials who will be stretched to their limits during this time of national crisis.
In tumultuous times like these, both generally in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and within the UAS community in the battle against the Remote ID legislation, it is beneficial to everyone to use these aerial devices to our advantage and prove they are worth making accessible to everyone. One can never know when they might prove handy.
If you’d like to learn more about COVID-19 and what you can do to help stop the spread, click here to navigate to the Center for Disease Control’s website. Remember to only trust information from websites with a “.gov” or “.org” in their URL and take all other information with a grain of salt.