In a nutshell: Drones that can detect people potentially infected with Covid-19 are now being tested in the US. In addition to spotting possible carriers, the UAVs are also used to identify anyone who might be violating social distancing orders.
Last month, we reported on drone maker Draganfly, which has been working on drone tech that uses specialized onboard thermal sensors and a smart computer vision system to monitor people’s temperature, heart and respiratory rates from a distance of 190 feet. It’s even able to detect sneezing and coughing in crowds, and can measure social distancing between individuals.
The drones will be used in Australia and are now being tested in the US. Digital Trends reports that the Westport Police Department in Connecticut, which has seen over 17,550 Covid-19 cases, is now trialing Draganfly’s product.
“Westport is testing the Draganfly health and public safety system to analyze and provide anonymized data on social distancing, heart rate, fever rate, and respiratory behavior, and doesn’t collect individualized data,” Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly, told the publication. “The data tested for use by public safety professionals [is intended] to get a better picture of population health. The technology has been peer-reviewed and clinically researched to help protect potential at-risk groups, such as seniors, crowds gathering at the town and state-owned beaches, train stations, parks and recreation areas, shopping centers and other areas where people tend to gather.”
Several countries have been utilizing drones to ensure people adhere to quarantine rules, including Spain, which has been using speaker-equipped UAVs to scold people.
Should the trial at Westport PD prove successful, Draganfly’s drones are expected to be used across other parts of the US heavily hit by Covid-19. “We are in talks to provide our health and public safety drone platform with other communities, organizations and companies that reside in other so-called hotspot areas around the country — mostly heavily populated cities like New York, Boston, and LA,” added Chell.