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Coronavirus (Covid-19) and drones – Missed opportunity

by Fabio Affortunato
Coronavirus Quarantena Droni
Reading time / Tempo lettura : 3 minutes / minuti

Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Drones and red zones

Coronavirus or Covid-19 is killing lives and is in fact modifying the life – social and otherwise – of the entire world population.

In this scenario, where the governments of the various nations affected by the Coronavirus have instituted mandatory quarantine in the most affected areas, defining off-limits areas, the famous red areas. Well it does not seem that drones have been used in these areas for the delivery of medicines or basic necessities, nor for disinfection or for monitoring the red and yellow zones.

The question therefore arises: where did the drones go? And those for air deliveries experienced by Amazon and others?

Coronavirus – where are the drones?

Last year (2019) there were various proclamations (and articles) on parcel deliveries by drone. In fact, Amazon, UPS and others have shown off to the right and left to have successfully tested parcel deliveries by drone.

However, from the appearance of the Coronavirus in Wuhan in December 2109, unfortunately going through January 11, 2020, the date of the first victim, to the 97,886 infections of Covid-19 to March 5th, 2020 worldwide (of which 80,422 only in China), it does not appear that drones have been used for monitoring red areas, or for the delivery of medicines or basic necessities through drones, while only in China some drones would have been used for disinfection of the affected areas.

Obviously this appears contradictory, given that the drones lend themselves very well both for environmental monitoring activities, and for disinfection activities. Let’s not forget that the world’s largest drone manufacturers, such as DJI, Ehang, to name just a couple of them, are Chinese.

Drones to fight Coronavirus – monitoring red and yellow areas

Yet technology and innovation should be a means of facilitating and improving the lives of humans. Hence the use of drones for monitoring the effective “keeping” of the red zones set up for coronavirus, would certainly have been of help to the police.

Drone monitoraggio

Drone for enviromental monitoring – Image from pixabay.com free for commercial use – Author Thomas Ehrhardt

Drones for disinfection of critical areas

And again, how come you have not thought about using drones to disinfect critical areas of red or yellow areas? Or for the preventive disinfection of areas of cities not affected by Covid-19?

For those who do not know precision agriculture, it deals with distributing pesticides or spreading fertilizers and other drone on plots of land much larger than a square or several football fields.

Dji Drone Agricoltura

Drone for agriculture – Image from pixabay.com free for commercail use – Author DJI Agras

Finally, let’s not forget that a drone can also fly indoors, so it would have been useful to disinfect closed places such as metro, wagons, airports, etc. in a short time and with excellent results.

Drone deliveries

And let’s go back to the starting point. If the drones have not been used for the monitoring of the yellow red areas and even less for the disinfection of critical areas (squares, streets, metro, airports, etc.), because probably the use is unknown to the  “thinking heads”. At least the trendy idea of parcel delivery by drone, and perhaps backwards, would have had to trigger that they would have discovered that drones could be of help in a situation that is becoming more critical every day and that, probably if well used, would have contributed to the reduction of infections.

Use of the drone – final act: Red areas seen from the sky

IIn the absence of all of the above, given that governments are investing millions of drones, the use of the drone – to date 6 March 2020 – against Coronavirus or Covid-19 has been limited for long time only to shooting from above in the red areas by newspapers and/or law enforcement agencies.


The man has designed and built machines for various purposes, such as drones, which could give their best, certainly not to spy on the terrace of the neighbor or politician on duty, but to face a treacherous enemy like Coronavirus.

Wake Up! Drones are ready to take off and help humans fight a battle against an invisible enemy, not just shooting from above!

Update: ENAC – the regulatory entity for drones flight in Italia – has defined (24th of march 2020), the circumstances when the drones are allowed to fly. Here the link to the ENAC announcement. If you are interested to know how to use your drone during the lockdown read the article “Drones in the time at Coronavirus” from the Blog.

Note regarding the images: The images shown in the article are taken from pixabay.com, and are free for commercial use, with no attribution request. Each image however mentions the author who is the legitimate owner. The use of the images is exclusively for the purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The featured image is from pixabay.com and the author is Wokandapix.

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Last Updated on/Ultimo aggiornamento – 28/07/2020

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