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Drones use to combat covid-19

There have been a lot of attempts to best use drone technology to face the pandemic. We are going to provide you with the available information on the use of drones while adding some consideration on whether drones are considered an assistance in the given period of COVID-19, and then we will provide you with the best fields for drone use.

We are going to start with the first drone use case, which is transportation. We are going to talk about delivery and transportation of medical supplies to minimize the possibility of infection. Eighteen countries have engaged in the utility of drones in the transportation field during the pandemic, some of which maintained the regular use of drone transportation, and others just went through the experience as a sort of experimentation or just a test.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana, Malawi, and Rwanda, have reported that they have been using drones for the regular transportation of medical commodities since the beginning of the pandemic. The perceived benefits that drones are capable of offering in the context of COVID-19 are the speed of the delivery, with the limited physical contact leading us to reduce the risk of transmission during the delivery process.

The second most important drones use cases is the aerial spraying of the public places to disinfect any potentially contaminated places. The attempts took place in Spain, South Korea, UAE and China .Several media reported the use of drones for disinfectant spraying and some company claimed to cover 3km₂ with the aerial spraying of an area.

The third use mentioned for drones is public space guidance and monitoring during quarantine. A number of different law enforcement agencies (UK, India, Rwanda, China, Italy, France, United States, and others) have activated drones to control public spaces with better situational awareness and enforce quarantine with message sending over a loud speaker and even tracing non-compliant citizens. After the entire voice message with the drone, it is expected to reduce the possibility of having direct contact with an infected person and eliminate the spread of infection if ever occurred.

Having a strong system and an enabling environment requires the focus on some essential aspects. The first thing to mention is the need for appropriate human and financial resources to have drone technology available when needed. It also needs to take international movement and supply restrictions into consideration.

The second thing to be mentioned is that the program of implementing drones cannot be done without local skills; therefore, knowledge transfer is a must.

Not to forget that drone utilization cannot be easily implemented unless we have local legalization for safe drone operations.

We cannot ignore the fact that most people are afraid of the whole drone concept and of being watched whenever and wherever they are, but the focus must be limited. We are trying to restrict the use of drones to the best options given. However, significant efforts must be made to sensitize people who are resistant to new technologies, as well as to ensure local and political acceptance at the same time.

Drones were proven to be effective during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their full potential could not be realized or even explored due to drone regulations. Drone deployment during the COVID-19 period offers an opportunity to revise the airspace regulations and update the rules to facilitate their use.

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