Florida drone company pivots to sanitizing drone servicesAndy Godfrey, CEO of Pensacola Beach-based Upward Drone Solutions said that the work for cleaning services with a drone completely disappeared with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. The company quickly pivoted and started to focus on sanitizing buildings and other outdoor spaces with their reconfigured 55-pound drone.
“Basically the market that we had stopped. Exterior commercial cleaning just ended. They didn’t have budgets for it. A lot of places closed down. We knew we could adapt to this and we have, and now this has become obviously very significant,” Godfrey said, according to Insurance Journal.
During the two months that they’ve now deployed the drone to spray disinfectants, the company has sanitized entire facilities like stadiums, schools, parks, music venues, and airports.
Godfrey flies the drone roughly eight feet in the air and sprays a fine electrostatically charged mist of sanitizer that binds to the surfaces of seats, railings, and the like.
Highly touched surfaces should stay free of germs for up to four days, whereas in-frequently touched surfaces will often stay safe from germs for a couple of weeks after the mist has been applied. A special tool called the illuminometer is used to check if any germs are still present on treated areas.
“It’s become an exercise into trying to restore public confidence and peace of mind as people resume life as they once knew it. And that’s not something you can legislate for,” Godfrey said.
Jim Sparks, program manager for the University of West Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship, reportedly said during challenging times like the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important for entrepreneurs to adapt so they can continue to provide goods and services the community relies on in their daily lives.
“But we also have to come up with new ways to engage with each other in public settings, and so the work that they’re doing is really important to helping us be able to return to public spaces and feel safe while we’re there,” Sparks said.
In the right conditions, i.e. on flat surfaces and with not a lot of wind, the drones can fly for about 10 minutes before they need a battery change and a tank refill, during this time 17,000 ft.² can be covered with the electrostatically charged mist.
Andy Godfrey, CEO of Upward Drone Solutions shows his disinfectant-spraying drone. Photo credit: Tony Giberson.
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