One of the major challenges of containing a pandemic like coronavirus is identifying who's infected and how widespread the disease is. One way to go about this is to look for people showing symptoms of the virus but combing through millions of people and having them queue up to have their temperatures checked is not only impractical but also time-consuming.

Therefore, Aerospace firm has designed a drone that makes it possible to detect the disease remotely.

Drones can identify whether an individual is infected

Draganfly's drone technology is equipped with sensors and computer vision systems that read one's body temperature, breathing, and heart rates from a distance of up to 190 feet.

The drones are also capable of flagging someone if they sneeze or cough, and can even determine whether you're following social distancing rules. The drone can successfully identify diseases in public places and large crowds, including at airports, offices, railway stations, parks etc.

Test flights in the US

drone
Pixabay

Draganfly announced on Tuesday that it has carried out its first round of test flights of its "pandemic drones" that can detect coronavirus symptoms from the air, in the United States, the company announced today.

The test flights were carried out in Westport, Connecticut, which recently emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot following an upscale private party where dozens of people were exposed to the deadly virus. Westport is only 52 miles away from New York City, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States with more than 139,000 infected and over 10,600 dead.

As previously reported, cities in California are already using drones controlled by law enforcement to ensure people observe the lockdown restrictions and stay at home. However, these drones are only equipped with speakers to relay warnings to people caught flouting the rules and are not equipped with Draganfly's symptom-identifying drone technology.

Invasion of privacy

Draganfly claims that its drones to not invade an individual's privacy as its software uses biometric readings but no facial recognition, and that all the data it collects is anonymized.

"The system does not collect individualized data. The system does not identify people," Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell said in a YouTube video. "The system takes population samples and provides this anonymized data to our public safety officials so that we can have clear data giving us an indication of population health, and allowing our officials to make decisions based on real data," he noted.