With the pandemic, new uses of drones have multiplied. Facts, companies, comments and analyzes
The Covid-19 pandemic will probably also be remembered as a watershed date for the start of a more massive use of drones. From medical deliveries to monitoring, to remote inspections, at a time when people can be both victims and sources of infection spreading, drone fleets have allowed in some cases to keep the economy going. Although civil liberties advocates fear that remotely piloted vehicles can push the boundaries of surveillance too far.
ZIPLINE LANDS IN THE USA FOR THE DELIVERY OF MEDICINAL PRODUCTS
A first novelty of this period is that of the drone company Zipline, which has used its remote controlled air fleet to deliver medicines to Africa for years, but made its debut in the United States last week, transporting COVID-19 supplies to the hospitals of the North Carolina managed by Novant Health, as TechCrunch says.
The mission was made possible thanks to a waiver by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is currently the longest-haul drone delivery operation in the country.
SOCIAL DISTANCE AND MONITORING OF CROWDS
The delivery of Zipline is just one of the many new uses of drones that emerged during the pandemic. In fact, governments and companies are trying to use the aircraft in applications that might otherwise require the presence of humans.
In France, India and the United States, for example, drones have been used to monitor crowds for social distancing, while in China drones have been used to issue orders to citizens disobedient to the pandemic rules. And not only in these countries.
Morocco, according to the logistics portal logisticsviewpoints, has launched a fleet of drones just to fight the coronavirus. In recent weeks, the country has expanded its fleet for aerial surveillance, public service announcements and sanitation. As some blocking orders were ignored, drones were also used to monitor and identify suspicious meetings and to issue warnings. The aviation department of the International University of Rabat (UIR) offered its structures, skills and prototypes to the authorities in March, which allowed the use of drones with speakers or infrared cameras capable of detecting movements even at night .
THE HEALTH MONITORING OF THE CANADIANS OF DRAGNAFLY
Another coronavirus-related use case comes from the Canadian drone manufacturer Draganfly and its collaboration with the Australian Department of Defense and the University of South Australia. The new drone will be part of a camera system to detect signs of illness, such as coughing and high temperatures. The drone, according to logisticsviewpoints, is part of a larger system to collect real-time data on the possible spread of the disease. The project will initially focus on "hot spots" to measure infection rates and detect people with high temperatures.
WING COLLABORATED WITH WALGREENS TO MAKE DELIVERIES
Wing, the drone delivery company owned by the parent of Google Alphabet, received the first FAA approval for parcel delivery in April 2019. But during the pandemic the company collaborated with Walgreens to make prescription deliveries to quarantined people, as we read on Cnbc .
THE PROBLEMS IN THE USE OF DRONES
In short, comments Axios , "there is certainly a lot of interest in drones" but at the moment "regulations in the United States still make the use of these vehicles uphill". “The densely populated areas make deliveries of drones incredibly difficult. But, in rural areas, delivery trucks equipped with drones for making a simultaneous delivery are a much more attractive option. For now we are still in the early stages to understand how it will work. But the delivery of essential medicines and items is clearly the tip of the iceberg. "
FAA HAS ESTABLISHED THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FLYING GRAIZE DRONES TO AIRBUS, AIRMAP, AMAZON, INTEL, ONESKY, SKYWARD, T-MOBIL AND WING
In the meantime, the FAA has selected eight airlines to help establish the technical requirements for the remote ID, a protocol that drones will have to follow to transmit identification and location data during the flight. Remote ID requires drone manufacturers to make their products capable of sending ID codes and location data during operation in the national airspace. Drones without the remote identification system can only be piloted within areas designated by the FAA, usually in the same places where model airplanes fly. The selected companies are Airbus, AirMap, Amazon, Intel, OneSky, Skyward, T-Mobil and Wing.
MONITORING OF WORK SITES
A lesser known use of drones during the pandemic was remote monitoring of job sites that would otherwise have been largely closed to workers due to the blockade.
The leading software platform DroneDeploy has been used to fly drones on farms and construction sites, to receive streaming data and produce real-time maps of areas too large to be easily explored on foot or by car. And in fact it has seen a 90% increase in the use of drones among topographers and a 56% increase in the construction sector.
"COVID-19 is accelerating the introduction of this technology in all sectors," said Michael Winn, CEO of DroneDeploy at Axios . "It's not completely changing things, but it's speeding up the transition."
USE IN PORTS AND SHIPS
Another area where drones have been shown to be used is in ports. Drones have been used by both port and ship operators. For port operators, drones offer a quick way to examine the entire structure, which can span thousands of meters. Drones allow port operators to make sure everything is working as it should and also to better manage the amount of cargo available.
For naval operators, drones were used to transport supplies from the pier to ships at sea. In recent years, Maersk has performed numerous tests to refuel ships at sea without having to use smaller ships. The goal is to cut costs. Last week, Europe's busiest port, Rotterdam, started a drone delivery process to also bring parts and supplies to ships. Drones can also monitor ships at sea and help detect problems and repairs, logisticsviewpoints highlighted.
THE 'SMOG-ROBOT' AND SURVEILLANCE PROBLEM
But for every positive aspect there is also a downside. "Omnipresent drones could help alleviate the congestion of the delivery truck in crowded cities but they could also create what robotics professor Illah Nourbakhsh called 'smog robot', unprecedented noise and visual pollution," reads on Axios .
“The same remote monitoring that would appear benign when used on an empty farm or forest could be seen as sinister if employed by police forces extending passive surveillance in cities. Despite complaints from civil rights activists, drones were approved last year for use by the LAPD in certain situations. "
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has warned that if "the police start using drones to identify people who are violating the quarantine and going around in public after testing positive for COVID-19, they can easily use the same drones to identify the participants in protests or strikes when the crisis is over ".
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/smartcity/come-si-sta-espandendo-luso-dei-droni-non-solo-anti-covid/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=come-si-sta-espandendo-luso-dei-droni-non-solo-anti-covid on Sun, 07 Jun 2020 05:24:30 +0000.