How Useful are Drones During Coronavirus Pandemic

What are Drones?

Some may say that it is a surveillance tool used by many nations to watch over the states; others may even mean that it is a gizmo for delivery or that it is a deadly ghost hiding deep in the sky. Possession of drones comes with great responsibility as the United States has dozens of unarmed and armed drones flying across numerous countries.
In this article, we will tell you all about drones and how effective are drones during coronavirus pandemic.

Drone camera
Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash

These aerial vehicles are the most superior-tech device one can own as it can be manipulated without a human pilot. We can control it from the floor with the help of a GPS tracking system. The technicality of drones gets better every year as they are always released with enhanced and latest features.

Previously it was used for airstrikes and eliminating terrorist groups overseas, but how did these come into existence?

Origin of Drones

To know how they are actually trendy today, you should look back 100 years ago. These aerial vehicles operated on the system of sensors. You can think of it as a remote control airplane having unlimited range. However, the exact origin is complex to find. World war 1 was the first era when the world witnessed aircraft in the military service. And since then, it has been flourishing in every industry.

Courtesy US Government

How Drones Work?

The military refers to drones as crewless aerial vehicles or RPAS. Drones are highly useful in situations where regular flights can be too risky. They record the imagery situation going on in that area and calculate the risk before taking off after long surveillance. Mechanics of a drone flight are not too complicated once you understand what happens behind the interface, including aeroscope accelerometer, landing gear, etc.

We can say that drones have a small computer in themselves which uses minute sensors for detection of movements, air pressure, acceleration along with GPS information. By all these technologies, a drone is a self-contained flight system. It is mainly used by, photographers, large scale farming communities for monitoring their crops by an inexpensive method, real estate professional who wants to show their property or lands to buyers, extremely adventurous people who go on hiking.

Let’s look at it in a nutshell that how a basic drone takes action-

1. Connectivity

Can be controlled by smartphone, tablets, or a pre-programmed app with GPS coordinates.

2. Accelerometer and altimeter

An accelerometer is used to provide raw information regarding the speed and direction. Altimeter is concerned with the altitude.

3. Motor

Just like every other electronic device, a drone also needs a battery, propellers (blades), motors. The motor is responsible for the rotation of blades at the highest speed possible. The average rate is 28500 RPM (Revolutions per minute) or 475 RPS (Revolutions per second).

The basic formula for left calculation that every drone follows is- L= ½ ¶V²ACl

Where,

  • ¶= air density
  • V=velocity of air
  • A=surface area
  • Cl=coefficient of lift

The drone can have its control over just one term, which is velocity, by rotating the blades. All the four motors with their blade are distinguished in two sets. One rotates in the clockwise manner and the other in an anticlockwise manner. All four engines are used for a drone to get it off from the ground, which generates a net upward force more than its weight, and each motor blade makes a thrust upwards.

Once the drone is in air, it may hover. In this case, the net force can have equilibrium if it matches its weight. When the drone turns to the left side, it will generate power on the right hand of the motors. It will increase the thrust and hence will allow the movement. Simultaneously, it reduces the influence on the left side of the engines to lessen the intensity of the push. The combined net force turns the drone to the left side.

4. Cameras

Drone Cmaera
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Most of the drones come with an inbuilt camera, and if not, then one can be engineered. Of course, high tech drones require the supervision of an expert to control it, but there are drones available for beginners as well, in which it is easy to control the cameras. Now drones come with a memory card so the user can record the footage and later on watch it on your computer. Channel control and transmitter are used to navigate the drones. You can route your drones to a higher speed if the drone has high channel control.

How Drones Can Help in a Pandemic?

Within a few months, the COVID-19 crisis has shut down most parts of the world. It’s challenging to greet each other and almost impossible to go to work and keep educating our children. With a complete lockdown of people, it is an excellent time to use the technologies, including drones during coronavirus pandemic, for carrying out our essential activities.

Surveyor using drone

Also, after keeping in mind no human-contact, now delivering healthcare is the main problem. The current health crisis will improve on its own when the time comes, but until then, how these drones during coronavirus pandemic can help to make our life easier? The relative benefits can be applied to rather than just photography or in a war. To what extent these drones are useful for us to carry out our daily activities for the common man and official officers? Let’s look at some of the money benefits we can have from drones in this time of crisis

Transportation of Goods

After all, the most beneficial application of drones during coronavirus pandemic is there potential to carry products. The companies are using drones during coronavirus pandemic to transport healthcare supplies and medicines to the required places. They travel mostly from hospitals to disease control centers. However, this work carried out under the supervision of various groups and agencies of the health department and municipal government.

All the proper safety measures are taken for operating the drones. The drones have speeded up the shipment process, and they have reduced human contact to a large extent. These unmanned devices allowed health professionals to stay uninfected and unharmed. According to Network, it was found that drones can deliver goods 50% faster than the roads also while cutting the risk of coronavirus spread. Drones transport has significantly reduced unnecessary physical contact, thereby preventing secondary transmission.

drones delivering medical supply
05 February 2020, Hamburg: A drone from the manufacturer Globe UAV flies over the grounds of the Bundeswehr hospital. The “Medifly Hamburg” project is testing the rapid transport of medical samples with an unmanned aircraft. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa (Photo by Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
 
DPA/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Aerial Disinfection

One of the significant applications of drone, even if not in the crisis, was to spray pesticides over the farm for large farming organizations. These were previously used on land for crops, but today they are used for sanitizing and disinfecting public places. You don’t need to put any labors for this work as the drones can do it all without any manual help, which decreases the spread of the virus. Another reason why it is so beneficial is that it can cover a large area in no time as compared to human labor.

As we know that viruses can spread to people by respiratory droplets or by the touch of contaminated surfaces. At such times, a disinfectant can be a mercy to reduce this transmission. Compared to doing manual work for spraying, drone spray has many advantages. It is observed by the drone company that disinfecting using drones is 60% more efficient than hand spraying. All the technical specifications are provided to the local authorities to build up the proper efforts for this use of drones.

Aerial disinfection by drones during coronavirus pandemic

Consumer Drone Delivery

This has been a trend in China after the outbreak. For avoiding people meeting each other, they are using drones during coronavirus pandemic as a means of limiting human contact. It was difficult for people in the semi-isolated Islands of China to get their household stuff. Generally, three modes of transportation are required for transporting groceries and other household products. Products are usually ships to the main pier, distributed to each island, and then taken on foot.

But after the outbreak, all these transportation means are stopped. Ensuring the support of local government and other E-Commerce company, the drone team agreed to become a feasible alternative. Together with background service and flight corridor permitted flight tests. Drones during coronavirus pandemic have been able to replace long drives for picking groceries by Just 10 minutes. Just like in China, it would be a treat to see the beneficial application of drones in all other cities as well.

Surveillance

Now, as the virus is spreading beyond our control, there is a great need that we all stay safe by not going at gatherings. Even after being told, many people continue to carry out daily life as before the pandemic. This results in more and more spread and loss of lives. It is essential to keep eyes on crowded areas 24 hours to make sure that the lockdown is in control.

Cctv cameras can only work in their zones, but surveying the whole city can be done through drones during coronavirus pandemic. With the help of photography drones, now we can have an image of all the crowded places in the city any time we want. Quick action can be taken if we find any gathering to keep people safe.

Other than that, another widespread use of drones during coronavirus pandemic is that we can give immediate medical care to the person in need. There is a high possibility that a person may get sick of the virus while he is out for grocery purchases. It will be tough for him to find help if no one else is available at the moment. At the time, this surveillance drone can scan the area and pinpoint the one who needs medical attention.

Another way of surveillance is by using drones with a body detection thermometer equipped with infrared. It can detect people with high temperature and let us know if he is going to be sick. It is, however, not in use for now, but still, it would be if considered.

Education

Due to the lockdown, all the public places, including schools and colleges, are shut down for good. Flying drones during coronavirus pandemic around the infected areas can also be used as a device to educate people.

There is a category of drones in which you can mount speakers or banners for providing safety information to people. Or at least it can be used to give people wanting to go back home if they are staying outside for some unreasonable cause.

How to Make it Happen?

Drones have always been used for the betterment of society, and now it is the time when they can give their contribution to fighting against the virus. However, it has happened in some of the countries. Other ones are still lagging. Influential organizations and official authorities need to know the efficiency of these applications as beneficial for health.

Drones can be very helpful for service improvements, reduction of disease transmission, and cost savings for the overall health system. A proof of all these records should be collected and shown to the authorities about how helpful are drones during coronavirus pandemic.  All these data are still considered sensitive by them to be disclosed. But releasing this information can be very helpful to ensure other health systems to learn from this experience.

A well-integrated drone can save a lot of money on unfortunate experimentation. The basic drone can maintain strict regulations for consumer use. The civil authorities must approve the request by health application sectors and let them use this airspace to make their lives much more manageable.

Conclusion

All of this data was just a drop in the bucket. If you would know all the benefits a drone can have, then you would be fascinated. Many other sectors like site survey, aerial cinematography, in search and rescue, drones have been used in almost all the critical areas. In the past few years, interest increase in the drone investment is seen in the consumer sector. But a high time when its application should be meaningful is right now. It can help save people’s lives. This crewless aerial vehicle covers everything from the chipset, software aerodynamics materials, and everything a high tech requires. It’s about time we spread the knowledge and get advantages of the drones in the crisis.

Share with us in comments your experience of lockdown during the Corona pandemic and how helpful were drones during coronavirus pandemic.

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