A commercial drone operator expects the UAE to emerge as a world leader in employing unmanned aerial systems in a growing list of fields.
Falcon Eye Drones Services (FEDS) said that government agencies in the UAE have been particularly quick to use the capabilities of drones in the fight against the coronavirus.
Rabih Bou Rashid, CEO of FEDS, said: “The rapid spread of Covid-19 has played a vital role in accelerating the adoption of the drone in a growing list of unconventional tasks, which is what we have witnessed in the UAE.”
He said: “Covid-19 has prompted more usage of drones, with a lot of countries utilising them to conduct its services without the risk of infection. We must put drones to our advantage in this crisis, as this technology offers a unique yet safe way to conduct remotely what used to be only human-to-human interactions.
“Drones will be an essential part of the daily lives of humans and will be as vital as phones are to everyone today.”
FEDS highlighted five ways on how drones can speed up the fight against the virus.
Drones, equipped with loudspeakers, are significantly helpful in epidemic control by conveying information to the public and enforcing the #stayhome campaign amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
In the UAE at the height of the pandemic, police authorities such as Dubai Police and Sharjah Police, utilised drones to disseminate messages to encourage residents to stay home and avoid stepping out unless necessary.
Some countries, he said, have been using drones to share key information on personal sanitation, disinfection, and self-protection to educate the community.
The UAE has also used drones during the recent national disinfection program. Drones, Bou Rashid said, can carry up to 16 liters of spraying disinfectant—a feature that allows them to fumigate large areas without sending people into impacted places. Drone sprays are estimated to be 50 times more efficient than hand sprays.
He added that the drones of FEDS, for instance, have a spraying efficiency of 180 mu per hour, and can already cover 120,000 square meters. They also have omnidirectional radar to be able to carry out the mission automatically.
According to Bou Rashid, drones can help detect new cases as they are equipped with a dual visual and infrared image sensor—making it easy to measure body temperature from a safe distance and reducing the risk of further infection.
He added that drones can travel up to one-kilometer radius, allowing for a large area observation in a shorter period.
Monitoring and Crowd Guidance
Authorities can deploy drones to monitor people who defy government decisions, allowing strict enforcement of regulations. Surveillance drones are capable to identify those who have broken the country’s confinement laws.
The drones are also used to guide crowds and vehicles in places prone to infection in a much safer and more efficient manner. Drones, Bou Rashid said, can carry out onsite guidance like patrols in key transport hub areas to minimise congestion, as well as observe public areas to locate unprotected crowds.
Without drones, Bou Rashid said common issues like road congestion and crowd gathering, would require onsite manpower—which could lead to cross-infection.
Bou Rashid noted that drones can deliver necessary goods without human contacts—such as samples, medicine, and groceries. He added that since human-to-human contact is risky at this time, some nations have utilised robots for contactless deliveries—reducing cross-infection while making sure aid arrives for people in need.
“Robots like drones are immune to infection, so many countries have stepped up to get them out in force to deliver medical supplies and other goods. Drones have indeed proven their value especially to those who are quarantined at homes,” he said.