Drones have risen to the COVID-19 challenge as social distancing disrupted the delivery of supplies. During the coronavirus pandemic, unmanned aircraft have been used with varying degrees of success to disperse crowds, communicate social distancing messages, monitor people’s temperatures, spray public spaces with disinfectants and to deliver medical supplies. #dronesforgood
Drones have risen to the COVID-19 challenge
Jason Ford writes for The Engineer:
Indeed, with ferry services to the Isle of Wight curtailed, Solent Transport, Southampton University, and Windracers embarked on a project to fly medical supplies to St Marys Hospital on the island with a drone.
The Windracers ULTRA (Unmanned Low-cost TRAnsport) UAV, capable of carrying 100kg but laden with loads of up to 40kg, completed the flight to the island on May 9 from Solent Airport, Hants, in 13 minutes.
Before COVID-19 the deliveries would have been undertaken on-road and at sea, with a one-way journey taking as long as six hours. The two-week trial showed how deliveries could be fulfilled in 15 minutes.
“Drones have certainly proved their worth during the Coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the advantages of remote operations, and this could pave the way for an expansion of drone use, including deliveries,” said James Willoughby, Drone Content Executive at Heliguy, a North-Shields based supplier of drones and drone pilot training.
According to Willoughby, the Drone Delivery Report by Research and Markets estimates that the global drone market will grow to over $43bn in 2024, with drone deliveries being the fastest-growing application method within that market.
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