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Written by Prasanna Shivaramaiah
on 09 Apr 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented socio-economic crises across the globe. As humanity continues to spend days holed up inside their homes, it is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. It is also leading to faster adoption of the latest technology concepts, such as drones, to aid governments in handling the situation. There have been several use cases of how drones have helped law enforcement bodies in aerial surveillance and monitoring.


Drone-based surveillance uses ultra-high definition resolution cameras to capture images and videos to obtain information about a geographical area or a specific topography. They also offer the possibility of making critical and lockdown-related announcements for the general public through sky speakers. A drone's small size and flight capability allow it to access areas that otherwise may not be easy or possible. Typically, they are equipped with computer vision, camera, face and object recognition, and other tracking technologies to get the desired results. It uses a combination of networking, robotics, and AI to perform various tasks.

 

Over the past few years, the scope for drones has improved immensely. They are being used for surveillance, scene reconstruction, crowd control, recording the position of objects and people, monitoring weather conditions, carrying and delivering payloads, and distributing seeds or fertilizer in agriculture applications, among several others. Drones also offer several advantages during a disaster as they can send in real-time images of the area leading to better decision making and improved utilization of the available resources. The use cases of drones are limitless, and we are only limited by our imagination.

Infographic - Blog for using drones to manage covid - 0420 - 4[8]

Given their capabilities and features, drones have emerged to be particularly relevant during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic is driving administrations around the world to use the technology to enforce and better monitor lockdown rules, and keep an eye on the situation while protecting resources. Besides enabling better control and monitoring capabilities, drones can also be used to deliver critical supplies such as medicines and food and even disinfect large areas. By using drones, the administration can bring down the stress on health personnel and also ensure contactless handovers, thus minimizing the risk of infection.

 

China was the first country to use drones during this pandemic, and there are numerous examples of how drones were employed to monitor public spaces and help authorities disband any social gatherings that posed a risk to society. Netherlands, France, UAE, and Belgium police are also using speaker-equipped UAVs to broadcast home quarantine rules and to monitor social distancing regulations. Italian police, too, have deployed drones to enforce controls on road movements. A start-up in Ireland is delivering medical prescription orders to people in lockdown to their homes. Spanish authorities are using agricultural drones to spray disinfectants in their cities to reduce virus transmission. These examples clearly show how this technology is serving the world to fine-tune life in the shadow of the coronavirus.

 

Another case in point is India's Telangana State Police that is using Cyient's drone-based surveillance technology to ensure proper implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown in the city of Hyderabad. The technology is enabling the police to make lockdown-related announcements and organize their ground forces to monitor the situation in congested areas of the city. Typically, a drone is geared with surveillance cameras, thermal imaging payloads, and sky speakers for public announcements. It helps in the aerial inspection of the area and allows the police department to deploy resources accordingly and better manage the evolving situations. It makes us proud to be able to contribute to the COVID-19 effort in some small way and respond to this unprecedented pandemic to support society.

Apart from these emergency measures, drone technology can help law enforcement agencies in real-time and ensure 24/7 monitoring of any area while keeping their human resource costs under control. The use of drone-based tracking also helps in getting the most precise information and avoiding human error. More efficient monitoring helps in making a more informed decision.

 

In the future, drone usage will continue to evolve and will become a part of our daily lives. Conducive government regulation and policies will help in accelerating the use of drones for various use cases across several business verticals. The UAV ecosystem will have immense growth opportunities and possibilities to offer improved services to the industry. 

 

 

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