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Pandemic drones to monitor, detect those with COVID-19

Draganfly will integrate a breakthrough health diagnosis onto cameras and UAVs to combat coronavirus.

In a rush to combat the global spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S., Draganfly will deploy “pandemic drones” to remotely monitor and detect people with infectious and respiratory conditions to help stop the spread of the disease.

The Draganfly drones will be fitted with a specialized sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds and other places where groups of people may work or congregate.

Draganfly will serve as the global systems integrator for the Vital Intelligence Project, a health and respiratory monitoring platform from Vital Intelligence Inc. The breakthrough technology was developed in a collaboration between the University of South Australia and the Science and Technology Group (DST), which is part of Australia’s Defence Department.

Coughing detected

The sensing system uses existing and new camera networks, UAVs and remotely piloted aircraft systems for health monitoring and detection of infectious and respiratory conditions — including monitoring temperatures, heart rates and respiratory rates.

The drones can monitor people in public crowds, workforces, airlines, cruise ships, convention centers, border crossings or critical infrastructure facilities. The technology can also be used to monitor potential at-risk groups, such as seniors in care facilities.

The Draganfly demonstration video below shows the camera detecting not only temperature, heart rate and respiration, but when a person is coughing.

Draganfly Video

Under the exclusive contract, initially budgeted at $1.5 million, Draganfly will use its engineering, integration and distribution expertise as well as its secure supply chain for immediate commercialization and deployment of the technology.

“The university and Defence supported my team’s efforts to develop automation for use in epidemics and disasters,” said Javaan Chahl, Defence Science and Technology Chair at the University of South Australia. “We had imagined the technology being used in a future relief expedition to some far-away place. Now, shockingly, we see a need for its use in our everyday lives immediately. Draganfly’s industrial know-how is quickly helping us ensure our research can save lives.”

The Draganflyer Commander UAV is a remotely operated miniature helicopter designed to carry wireless camera systems. (Photo: Draganfly)

The Draganflyer Commander UAV is a remotely operated miniature helicopter designed to carry wireless camera systems. (Photo: Draganfly)

“Draganfly has been selected because of its proven leadership in an industry so important to public safety at such a critical time. We look forward to working with global agencies and industry to rapidly deploy this important technology,” said Cameron Chell, Draganfly CEO.

“Draganfly is honored to work on such an important project given the current pandemic facing the world with COVID-19,” said Andy Card, Draganfly director and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and White House chief of staff. “Health and respiratory monitoring will be vital for not only detection, but also utilizing the data to understand health trends. As we move forward, drones and autonomous technology doing detection will be an important part of ensuring public safety.”

“With fighting epidemics rising as a global priority, new versatile technologies, such as humanitarian mission UAVs, are immediately needed to detect and track outbreaks so that critical interventions can be deployed sooner and with greater effectiveness,” said Jack Chow, advisor to the Vital Intelligence Project. Chow is a former first assistant director-general on infectious diseases for the World Health Organization (WHO).

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