UAV Challenge wins the AAUS Industry Champion Leadership Award

The late Prof Rod Walker

We are very excited to be selected as the winners of the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS) Industry Champion Leadership Award for 2020. According to the AAUS, “the Leadership Award recognises individuals or organisations that lead the way with advocacy work that strives to improve the commercial and / or technological viability of the unmanned system industry.” We want to congratulate all the finalists and we feel very proud to win in such company.

The UAV Challenge has run since 2007 and over the years the event has grown and evolved as the quality and experience of teams improved, the technology developed (some by the teams themselves) and the UAV industry as we know it today was born.

The UAV Challenge was an idea of the late Rod Walker of QUT, Jonathan Roberts (then at CSIRO) and George Curran (also then at CSIRO). There were many motivations for creating the Challenge but the primary one was to assist in bringing UAVs into common place use in non-military domains (in 2007 the military had already begun commonly using UAVs).

We created two types of events. The first was a high-school event that aimed at giving school students learning experiences that would encourage them to think about a future career in the UAV industry. The second was an event open to anyone in the world where a grand challenge (seemingly impossible) would force teams to innovate and solve major technical and logistical issues that we knew were holding the UAV industry back. A common element in all the events has been Outback Joe, an accident-prone farmer from a remote part of Australia, but who loves UAVs and how they can be used to save him year on year.

The UAV Challenge has so far had over 700 teams with over 4,000 team members compete in 21 events (13 high-school and 8 open events). Those teams have come from over 40 countries and the UAV Challenge can say that we have had a positive impact on the use of UAVs in the civilian world.

The UAV Challenge would never have worked if it was not for the hard work of hundreds of people. The current co-organisers of the UAV Challenge are CSIRO Data 61 and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). We would like to thank the members of the Technical Committee (past and present), the many Judges (mainly from industry), our fellow founding organisations the Queensland Government and Boeing, our numerous sponsors, previous Steering Committee members, the event staff (many of whom were volunteers), the providers of the competition sites (including Kingaroy Airport, Dalby Model Aero Club, Calvert Radio Aero Modellers Society and Doug Browne), local governments (including Western Downs Regional Council, South Burnett Regional Council and Ipswich City Council), Boeing and Insitu Pacific Limited for their STEM activities, CASA (for their forward thinking and trust), the QUT and CSIRO staff that have worked at the events, Dennis Frousheger, Andy Keir, Brendan Williams, Ross Dungavell and Mick Molloy (all of whom have put in huge amount of work in their own time), Anthony Banks (from Muller College and who has attended every single event and fielded high-school teams at all of them), all the photographers that have taken the tens of thousands of official photos, our media supports (including the BBC, Channel Ten, ABC TV, ABC Radio, Channel 7, QANTAS inflight magazine) and of course all the teams that have entered over the past 14 years.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the families of the organisers who support us all while we disappear to do UAV Challenge things, or who have even come along themselves and volunteered.

We miss you Rod.

FlytBase and DroneLogBook Partner to Simplify Live, Remote Drone Operations

FlytBase, Inc. and DroneLogBook are excited to partner together to help drone operators, service providers and system integrators automate and scale their UAV operations.

The growth of the global commercial drone industry, led by US-based enterprises, federal agencies and tech startups, is expected to accelerate as hardware gets commoditized, regulators remain proactive, and intelligent software enables an increasing number of use-cases. Seamless integration of hardware, software and services will power this growth – the drone ecosystem is fast maturing to provide this to enterprises who are keen to adopt UAVs to create business value.

FlytBase, Inc. provides drone agnostic software solutions to automate and scale drone operations. The FlytBase technology platform allows easy deployment of intelligent drone fleets, connected with cloud-based business applications. FlytBase offerings are compatible with major drone hardware platforms (eg. DJI, Ardupilot, PX4) and come with SDKs, simulator and APIs for reliable testing and seamless integration. FlytBase customers range from sectors such as public safety and energy utilities to warehouses, distribution centers, and air cargo facilities.

DroneLogbook provides the commercial drone industry with compliance software (SaaS) to help commercial drone operators to plan and manage flights, import telemetry data, track documents and maintenance etc.. to better manage operations and maintain regulatory compliance. DroneLogbook helps drone operators easily generate compliance (FAA, CAA,

CASA, CAD, EASA, DGAC, TBST) reports in seconds, on demand – and also provides custom reports available to allow operations managers to track pilots, flights, maintenance, etc.

FlytBase and DroneLogBook believe that live, remote drone operations – whether VLOS or beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) – will require full autonomy to truly scale. Such missions tend to start with low-latency, high-quality live video feeds that can be easily shared -over the cloud – with remote stakeholders and decision-makers. As the drones start to create value, the missions quickly mature to scheduled, repeatable ones where drones & payloads can be controlled remotely and/or automatically.

Given the central role of security & privacy in drone operations, regulatory compliance is at the core of commercial drone operations. This too is increasingly powered by software that logs each mission, reports violations, interfaces with third-party applications for real-time airspace information, helps manage drone fleets, and is scalable across large fleets, different use-cases and geographies.

Yves Jusot, DroneLogBook Founder, commented “We remain focused on simplifying drone operations for our customers – whether pilots or large enterprises – via a one-stop solution for flight log management. This allows our customers to rest assured about compliance reports for all their missions. Our partnership with FlytBase enables our users to leverage 4G/5G connectivity by accessing real-time video feeds over the cloud, and even control their drones, camera gimbals and payloads remotely.”

According to Nitin Gupta, FlytBase CEO, “Our recent partnership with DroneLogBook builds upon our experience in integrating access to their flight log management solutions in our enterprise solutions. Whether for public safety and security or for wind turbine and pipeline inspection, drone fleets – powered by autonomy – are being rapidly adopted not only by CTOs and innovation heads but also by operations, safety and maintenance executives. Such large scale adoption will rely on robust software for airspace compliance, real-time HD video streams, enterprise-grade security and intelligence at the edge.”

To learn more about DroneLogBook, visit https://www.dronelogbook.com/

To learn more about FlytBase’s solution for live video streams from drones, visit

https://flytnow.com

Newest Virtual Surveyor Software Highlights Dangerous Slope Angles in Sand Pits, Quarries, Escarpments

Virtual Surveyor has introduced a new feature in Version 7.2 of its popular drone surveying software that automatically highlights terrain slopes that exceed dangerous steepness thresholds. Called Slope Threshold lens, this capability significantly enhances the safety of operations in sand pits, quarries and other dynamic environments with steep terrains.

“With the click of a button, operators of sand pits and quarries can see precisely where the escarpments surrounding their excavations have exceeded user-specified slope angles,” said Tom Op ‘t Eyndt, CEO of Virtual Surveyor nv in Belgium. “This enables the managers of sand pit dredging operations, for example, to remediate the situation before the slope collapses and hurts workers.”

Virtual Surveyor software bridges the gap between UAV photogrammetric processing applications and engineering design packages. The software generates an interactive onscreen environment with UAV orthophotos/DSMs and/or LiDAR point clouds where the surveyor selects survey points and breaklines to define the topography, creating highly accurate products up to five times faster than otherwise possible.

Addition of the Slope Threshold lens in Version 7.2 complements the lens technology Virtual Surveyor introduced in 2019 to enhance and colorize different aspects of terrain to give users a better understanding of topography. The first six lenses were Hill Shade, Contours, Transparent, Slope Direction, Slope Steepness, and Elevation. These lens tools have been further refined with the ability to stretch the color gradients, improving the 3D visualization of slopes, elevations and contours.

Virtual Surveyor Version 7.2 also builds on advancements in recent releases that have focused on making volumetric and cut-and-fill calculation faster and more accurate in quarries, mine pits, retention ponds, and other basins that fill with water. The Extract Level and Create Water functions delineate a water feature with a single click where the water meets the edge of a basin, pond or quarry. This removes noise from the data and creates a perfectly flat elevation for the water surface in the generated surface model.

“We have further enhanced this water extraction process by adding a new tool called MultiVertex editing,” said Op ‘t Eyndt. “Rather than click on dozens of points to delineate terrain bulges and jetties that extend into the water body and distort the perimeter, the MultiVertex tool lets the user click just once to delete the extraneous points.”

Another enhancement is a new 2D view mode. The original strength of Virtual Surveyor is the ability to work in 3D. In a 3D view, however, survey lines and points can be obscured by the topography for users that overlay multiple drone surveys taken at different dates.

“Virtual Surveyor users can now toggle back and forth between 3D and 2D when they need to see a geometrically correct view of multiple historical DSM vectors overlaid on the orthophoto,” said Op ‘t Eyndt.

Current subscribers to Virtual Surveyor will see their software being updated to Version 7.2 automatically.

To start a free 14-day trial of Virtual Surveyor, visit www.virtual-surveyor.com.

About Virtual Surveyor

Virtual Surveyor software enables professional surveyors to generate accurate topographic end products from drone imagery five times faster than traditional field work. Now used in 68 countries, Virtual Surveyor allows surveyors to create light-weight CAD models from drone data in very short timeframes. In a typical application, the suite takes the orthophotos and digital surface models (DSM) extracted from UAV imagery with photogrammetric software like Pix4D, Metashape or DJI Terra and generates an interactive virtual environment onscreen where surveyors can select the survey points and breaklines that define topography.

Standard topographic outputs from the Virtual Surveyor software are Surfaces or TINs (Triangular Irregular Network), Contours, Line Surveys and Cut-and-Fill Maps. These survey-grade deliverables are ready for direct input into computer aided design (CAD) software packages such as AutoCAD, Civil3D, Magnet, Vulcan and BricsCAD. As such, Virtual Surveyor bridges the gap between UAV photogrammetric processing software and engineering design packages.

WingtraOne drone data is now compatible with Trimble Business Center

Since the latest Wingtra software release, it is now easy to directly import WingtraOne drone data into Trimble Business Center (TBC), a comprehensive software suite based on a long legacy of service and experience in the survey and construction industries. TBC integrates a range of in-demand software and enables users to work across these platforms with field data, all in one place. This update expands the potential for applying WingtraOne’s broad-coverage, high-accuracy drone data to professional survey and construction projects across industries.

“It’s a solid step forward to enable our data to work smoothly with Trimble Business Center,” said Francois Gervaix, Wingtra’s geospatial expert. “TBC is a reference software in the industry, because it’s a successful convergence of all kinds of tools and devices. It’s compatible with many survey methods and has a long history of use.”

Both TBC and WingtraOne customers benefit from this update, as it enables a simple drag and drop of data into the software suite, at which point all of its tools and features are accessible.

“Trimble understands that one of the strengths of its platform is how exhaustive it is in terms of covering all of the major software and data-capture players,” Gervaix said. “For this reason, we were asked to enable our software to export data in a compatible format.”

The Wingtra software release that introduced JobXML (TBC file format) file compatibility also brought various other product updates. Namely, high-altitude flight capabilities, longer flight times and more intuitive battery level readings in-flight.

WingtraOne is becoming the go-to drone for survey and mapping professionals seeking both high-accuracy data and broad coverage for large-scale, professional projects. The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) feature allows it to take off and land smoothly in confined and rough terrain. Since it doesn’t face hard impacts on landing, it can carry higher-end cameras. It’s RX1R II payload and multi-frequency PPK module, specifically, allow for drone survey absolute accuracy down to 1 cm (0.4 in) while maintaining a standard of broad coverage that fixed-wings are known for.

FLIR Announces First Order for Black Hornet Vehicle Reconnaissance System

FLIR Black Hornet

Vehicle-Launched Nano-UAV Keeps Troops Secure While Providing Real-Time Situational Awareness; First Sale of VRS Will Support Technology Concept Testing for Base Protection

ARLINGTON, Va., March 30, 2020 ― FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced that the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment has procured one of the company’s Black Hornet Vehicle Reconnaissance Systems (VRS) as part of an innovative base protection program. The order represents the first sale of an integrated VRS system for FLIR.

The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) is the prime institution responsible for defence-related research and development in Norway. Its ICE worx department is overseeing this technology-driven effort that includes live testing new concepts for base protection involving multiple active and passive sensors, command and control systems, as well as threat mitigation and defeat capabilities.

FLIR Black Hornet VRS equips armored or mechanized vehicles with an immediate, self-contained surveillance and reconnaissance system. Adapted from the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), VRS extends the capabilities of the award-winning Black Hornet nano-UAV. The launch unit, with fully integrated controls inside the vehicle, mounts externally and can deploy up to four Black Hornet drones. The result is a remotely operated UAV system that delivers real-time situational awareness while crews stay protected inside their vehicle.

“Among their many missions, our Black Hornet PRS and VRS systems can help reduce the manpower needed to secure base camps, protect forces, or gather actionable intel on the battlefield,” said Roger Wells, VP and general manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business line at FLIR. “FFI’s program is a good model of collaboration between Norwegian defense and industry to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions that can save lives. We’re proud to be playing a role.”

The Black Hornet is designed and built by FLIR in Norway. FLIR also has supplied unmanned ground systems to Norwegian military and law enforcement for more than 10 years, including a contract last fall to provide more than 20 of its PackBot® robots to Norway’s Ministry of Defense and the Oslo Police.

To learn more about the FLIR Black Hornet VRS, visit flir.com/products/black-hornet-vrs/

Pix4D presents the next generation of photogrammetry and analytics software

Photogrammetry leader Pix4D is announcing today the commercial release of next-generation software addressing the modern-day professional challenges. Developed in close collaboration with customers and partners, Pix4Dsurvey, Pix4Dmatic, Pix4Dinspect, and Pix4Dscan will contribute to revolutionizing the way professional customers operate and deliver their services.

Breaking ground with Pix4Dsurvey & Pix4Dmatic

Digital photogrammetry is an essential part of every modern surveyor’s toolkit and has contributed to launching hundreds of new drone mapping businesses around the world.

Pix4Dsurvey and Pix4Dmatic represent the next step in photogrammetry, addressing major challenges in the geospatial industry.

Pix4Dsurvey is bridging the gap between digital photogrammetry and CAD by transforming point data into CAD-ready formats. It allows the vectorization of any element, thanks to the rayCloud environment. Dramatically reducing overall surveying time, and expanding possibilities for surveying and mapping professionals, Pix4Dsurvey is now available for trial and purchase.

Pix4Dmatic, a new photogrammetry software product, will enable accurate drone mapping on a new scale. Built for the latest generation of drones, it is optimized for processing thousands of images while maintaining survey-grade accuracy, halving the time taken to deliver your large project from images to point cloud. Pix4Dmatic beta program is now open for applications.

In addition, Pix4Dmapper version 4.5, a new update of the leading desktop photogrammetry software, is now available for download. With speed-up in the image calibration and point cloud generation by an average of 20% in both steps, it now enables users to process projects faster than ever.

Automating industrial inspection with Pix4Dscan & Pix4Dinspect

Manual inspection of industrial assets and infrastructure is time-consuming, expensive and at times dangerous. Current technology has reduced the danger but the process remains long and costly. Pix4Dscan and Pix4Dinspect will change that.

Pix4Dscan is a drone flight app designed to deal with complex structures. Pix4Dinspect cloud based software is an analytics platform able to manage and inspect digital assets modelled with Pix4D’s best-in-market photogrammetry. Together they deliver an end-to-end solution for industrial inspections and asset management.

New and improved Pix4D Training platform and offering

New software needs first-class training material. This is why the new Pix4D Training platform is now easier than ever to access. All resources —from quick tip videos to official certifications can be found at training.pix4d.com.

Christoph Strecha, Pix4D’s Founder and CEO, comments: “I am confident this set of mobile, cloud and desktop software are a major evolution for drone mapping applications, allowing projects to get progressively larger, and making data more actionable than ever. These products will revolutionize the way professionals work, improving efficiency and expanding possibilities.”

About Pix4D

Pix4D (pix4d.com) develops cutting-edge software that converts images taken by hand, by drone or by plane into accurate and georeferenced survey-grade 2D mosaics, 3D models and point clouds. The dynamic and rapidly expanding company, founded in 2011, is based in Switzerland, with offices in San Francisco, Denver, Shanghai, Berlin, Madrid and Tokyo.

India – Jungleworks and the Panipat Administration collaborate with Drone Deliveries to Covid-19 patients

The Covid-19 outbreak has become a global crisis, which has left millions vulnerable, supply lines have collapsed, economies derailed, factories shunted and cities under lock down.

While India continues to tackle this crisis & maintain nationwide lock down till April 14, 2020, the Panipat Administration has joined hands with the tech giant JungleWorks which was announced on March 28, 2020. This Chandigarh based company is providing drone services to the Administration and further enabling them to provide daily essential items to quarantined people of Panipat.

The administration intends to utilise this drone technology to help promote social distancing & support the citizens who are battling the virus. The Administration along with Jungleworks aim to reduce cross-infection by implementing home delivery of medicines and groceries via drones. The drone is capable of carrying up to 4 kgs of weight within a distance radius of 5 km from launch location.

To make the delivery contactless, the drone releases the package autonomously through ‘winch mechanism.’

According to a report by GPS World, using drones speeds up transport by 50% compared to road transportation. In addition to speed, it doesn’t expose human delivery drivers to any risks.

Due to the contagiousness of COVID-19, it’s safer if human-to-human contact is minimised. The administration has quarantined 305 houses and 886 people who are suspected of COVID-19.

They along with JungleWorks believe that drone delivery of consumer items can ensure that people have access to food and other goods and make it easier for citizens to keep to recommendations limiting human contact.

Talking about the collaboration Mr.Samar Singla, CEO & Founder, Jungleworks said ,” There is tremendous potential and the need for fast diagnosis and fast delivery of medicine to patients will be even more critical to our healthcare systems in the future. During this event, the country will see drones make an impact and these solutions can reshape how we protect and care for people during health emergencies.

JungleWorks is pleased and honoured to contribute through its solutions and hopes the world will recover soon from this unanticipated disaster. “

About Jungleworks

JungleWorks is a SaaS technology service provider catering to entrepreneurs and SMBs to maximize mobile ROI. It is one of the prominent players in on-demand economy space, providing iOS and Android-based mobile applications on SaaS platforms. With 1000 plus clients that handle more than one million transactions a month, JungleWorks is providing solutions for customized software development in more than 150 countries.

Avy Mechanical Engineer – Drones for Good

Avy Team

Avy is looking for a mechanical engineer with drone/aircraft development experience. With an understanding of flight dynamics, propulsion and production methods ranging from 3D printing to composite construction.

As a mechanical engineer at Avy you will design, build, and test UAV systems and subsystems. Ranging from cargo bays to motor mounts, and from ground control stations to carrying cases. You will play a pivotal role in bringing our prototypes to market.

With your experience, you know how to bring a product to the market, what it takes to make something super reliable and what is needed for an excellent user experience.

  • You have great CAD skills (Solidworks / Inventor)
  • You have experience in design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA)
  • You know how to incorporate requirements that come from legal and certification guidelines
  • You have a broad understanding of materials and their characteristics in different environments
  • You have experience in drone and/or aerospace engineering
  • You are comfortable working with both system engineering requirements and an agile project management approach
  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, related technical field or equivalent practical experience
  • Demonstrable experience in bringing a product to market
  • 3+ years of experience in the field of engineering / product design
  • An affinity with drone technology and with our key markets of medical cargo delivery and wildlife conservation.
  • Strong English proficiency
  • .. are flexible, creative and resourceful
  • .. enjoy office banter in between hard work
  • .. have a can-do mentality

A job in a company determined to have a positive impact on the future: contribute to rhino conservation and medical cargo delivery to save lives! You’ll be telling the most interesting stories at birthday parties!

  • Experience the excitement, chaos, freedom and rapid growth of a tech startup from within.. it will be the ride of your life!
  • A warm atmosphere with regular drinks and occasional celebrations
  • A work culture based on freedom & trust
  • An awesome office with a maker space, gym, disco-toilet and delicious team lunches

Apply & join the team! We are excited to hear from you 🙂

Airbus VOOM, AAM test to close

Clement Monnet

In early 2016, we started Voom with the ambition to democratize access to the skies and transform how people move in urban environments. Over the last four years, Voom has grown from a project inside Airbus’ innovation center in Silicon Valley, Acubed, to a multinational company operating in Brazil, Mexico and the US, flying passengers in three of the most populous and congested metropolitan areas in the world. We have taken great pride in delivering the best possible service to our customers, and have gleaned key insights into the potential of the air mobility market and passenger preferences along the way.

Scaling globally isn’t easy for any business, and we found this to be especially true in an expensive industry with a truly transformative model for both Airbus and the transportation market as a whole. Couple these truths with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, and we have been faced with some hard choices, as are so many businesses today. On March 23 we made the difficult decision to cease global operations due to the virus, and today with our Airbus leadership, we have made the tough call that Voom will not resume its operations.

While we would have loved to continue our ambitious work, we have achieved our two major initial goals for this project. The first one was to create and launch the first-to-market mobile helicopter booking platform providing Airbus with valuable behavioral and operational data about urban air mobility (UAM) in today’s global markets. To that end, we learned a lot about customer preferences — booking and movement patterns, most popular routes, willingness to pay — as well as about operational challenges related to lack of infrastructure, public acceptance, on-demand versus scheduled routes, etc. We also shared valuable data with Airbus to help inform the company’s decisions on the design of any future electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL), including the average number of passengers per flight and flight time, the optimum end-to-end customer experience and infrastructure-related costs.

Our second goal was to democratize access to the urban skies. I am proud to say that over the course of our operations, we acquired nearly 150,000 active users and flew more than 15,000 passengers. In our first year of operation, 60% of our customers were first-time helicopter users, proving that we truly opened the skies to a new audience. We achieved a 45% repeat customer rate and an average ticket price equivalent to 2x the cost of a private car service for 1/10th of the time, making accessible and affordable urban air transportation a reality.

I am extremely proud of and grateful to the global team we built. Voom employees are an amazing group of talented and diverse individuals and aviation enthusiasts who are passionate about urban air mobility. Together, we have worked hard over the years to improve people’s lives by giving them access to urban skies. As co-founder and COO, and now CEO of Voom, my greatest source of inspiration has been the mission we set for the company and the team assembled to achieve it.

I would like to thank our strategic partners, the helicopter operators and the helipad management companies in São Paulo, Mexico City and the San Francisco Bay Area who have all demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to customer service, professionalism and passion. You have been incredible partners.

This is just one chapter in urban air mobility, with so much more to come. It is not a question of whether the UAM market will open up, but when. Having been in this space for the past four years, leading one of the few companies providing a UAM service to passengers, I am well aware of the challenges to making UAM possible with eVTOL within this decade. I still believe they can be overcome, and I remain excited and optimistic about the progress being made to build out the interconnected ecosystem required to make UAM a reality. In that regard, Airbus continues to invest in the UAM arena and will be able to leverage the knowledge gained through Voom.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the leaders of Airbus and Acubed. Without their support, we would not have been able to transition an idea into a project and grow it into a global company that customers around the world relied upon to transform how they move.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this fascinating adventure with us. It has been an amazing journey!

Battling COVID-19: Three Ways Drones Can Support Emergency Response

COVID-19 Drone operations

Combatting a pandemic like COVID-19 requires a drastic response and the ability to act quickly. Given the impact the virus has had across the globe, local authorities and political leaders are taking severe measures to ensure a lower rate of transmission.

In times like this, it is imperative to look beyond the conventional methods of detection, containment, and treatment we’ve traditionally used in public health crises. As we’ve seen in the last few weeks, technological advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and 3D printing can help enhance our current capabilities and get ahead of the outbreak. Healthcare professionals and technologists across the globe are coming together to crowdsource these solutions. An Italian start-up recently 3D-printed 100 valves to connect respirators to oxygen masks, while Shenzhen-based Pudu Technology is using robots to transport medical supplies inside hospitals.

As said by Dr. Alain Labrique, Director of Global Health Initiatives at Johns Hopkins University: “The connectivity we have today gives us ammunition to fight this pandemic in ways we never previously thought possible.”

At SkyGrid, we believe drone technology can also provide a solution to many of the challenges we’re facing today and will continue to face in the months to come. We’ll explore how incorporating drones into emergency response plans can help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Disinfecting Outdoor Surfaces

Research suggests the coronavirus can live on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for up to three days. It can also linger in aerosols – tiny droplets in the air – for three hours. However, at a time when many businesses are already struggling, ongoing disinfection can be very costly and labor-intensive, particularly when you consider large sporting arenas, college campuses, playgrounds, parks, outdoor shopping malls, and event venues. It will require a massive effort to keep surfaces clean and prevent dangerous spikes in new cases, especially as children, students, and professionals begin returning to their normal routines.

Disinfectant spray distributed by drones can provide a more efficient, cost-effective solution to sanitize large outdoor surfaces. This approach can help significantly reduce transmission of the virus via contaminated surfaces and respiratory droplets.

Delivering Tests and Critical Supplies

Another challenge during this pandemic has been access to testing and supplies, including everything from respirator masks to hand sanitizer. Companies like Abbot Laboratories and Everlywell are expected to enable millions of COVID-19 tests, including at home test kits. However, we’re still faced with the challenge of distributing tests and supplies without further spreading the virus and overwhelming our healthcare system.

Delivering test kits, blood samples, and urgent medical supplies by drone can help support widespread distribution while also reducing unnecessary human contact. As we’re already seeing in China, drones can cut delivery times of medical supplies by more than half.

Ensuring Compliance with Local Restrictions

As difficult as it is, it’s become evident that social distancing is critical to slow the spread of the coronavirus and allows hospitals to readily care for infected patients over time. From a province in China to the entire nation of Italy, lockdowns have been mandated around the world as new cases soar. In the US, millions of people have been ordered by local officials to stay home, closing schools and all non-essential businesses in several cities. Unfortunately, as the number of confirmed cases continue to rise, more cities—and even entire nations—will need to enforce lockdowns and strict regulations to flatten the curve. The challenge is enforcing these restrictions.

Equipped with loudspeakers and surveillance features, drones can help ensure local compliance by monitoring public areas, such as parks, beaches, and city centers, and enforcing lockdown measures.

What’s required to turn these solutions into a reality?

In the U.S., drone operators are required to register their drones with the FAA, follow Part 107 regulations, and obtain airspace authorization. Drone operators are also responsible for safely navigating the airspace, which is easier said than done. Operators are expected to plan their flight path, monitor their drone’s performance, and maintain separation from other aircraft and obstacles. That’s why many organizations look to SkyGrid for support.

Our aerial operating system provides airspace awareness, flight operations, and fleet management in one easy to use solution. This system is fueled by advanced airspace intelligence, such as aircraft traffic, flight restrictions, obstacle data, and hyper-local weather data, to enable safer drone operations. We’re also powering our system with next-gen technologies like AI and blockchain. These technologies are critical to generate the optimal flight paths, avoid hazards in-flight, and ensure compliance with the airspace rules and regulations.

Ultimately, we believe drones can have a major impact in the fight against COVID-19. SkyGrid is committed to powering drone operations that can help support businesses, authorities, and first responders during this difficult time.

Contact us to learn how we can help.