As COVID-19 took the world by storm in early 2020, we watched millions of people around the world change their day to day routine. The need to hunker down and shelter in place left many isolated and feeling alone. As people adjusted to the new reality which means not being out and about amid the quarantine, we saw drones used for amazing creative measures to restore some normalcy for communities everywhere. Here are 8 diverse ways that drones have been used to spread joy, positivity and help the public during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Kelly Passek, librarian at the Montgomery County Public School found a way for children to take out books from the library while they were doing remote learning for school, so they would not fall behind in their reading comprehension. Passek used drones to deliver books to people’s houses while they were on lockdown due to the coronavirus and libraries were closed. Thanks to Wing, a company dedicated to drone delivery, this service will now be available to all the public schools in the county and can hopefully be brought to more communities thereafter.
After a week of quarantining, New York resident Jeremy Cohen used his drone to give his phone number to a neighbor. After watching her dance on her rooftop, Cohen was intrigued, and knew he had to ask her out. As seen in his viral TikTok video, he grabbed a pen, piece of paper, and his drone to tape on his phone number to the drone body, which he then sent over to his neighbors roof.
Over the past years the food delivery trend has proved extremely popular. Today, with the endless amounts of food delivery apps, traditional pizza delivery is a thing of the past. Companies like Zing are taking this one step forward by making it possible for local drone pilots to deliver food, through a safe and efficient means of transportation. Drone delivery during quarantine makes food and medical supplies all the more accessible to communities across the US who are forced to stay indoors.
Drones have been used around the world for hundreds of search and rescue operations. Today, more police and fire departments are incorporating drones into their everyday work and utilising the incredible impact of drone technology to help people in risk. DJI has put together a rescue map to share stories around the world. Just last weekiIn the United States, MA police managed to rescue stranded canoers with thermal drone video footage.
With the worldwide quarantine keeping everyone indoors, drones were used to record footage from some of the world’s greatest cities, showing how empty they are. The videos show footage from empty streets of Budapest, the bare beaches of Rio De Janeiro, to Lisbon, Istanbul, and Vilnius. While normally these cities are full of thousands of locals and tourists, drones were used to capture the complete emptiness of the cities, without putting videographers' health at risk. This has also given local tour guides the opportunity to get back to work and connect with tourists online.
Tec Petaja of Nashville Tennessee decided to use his photography skills in a different way during the coronavirus pandemic. While Petaja usually provides 8-hour sessions for wedding photography, he knew that due to social distancing he would not be able to continue that. Instead, he is using drones to take photos of families and their loved ones, while he is at a distance.
In addition to having drones blare out warnings to civilians remain socially distant, drones are further being used to help stop the spread of coronavirus by spraying potentially infected areas with disinfecting spray. This method has proven to be 50 times faster than traditional disinfecting methods, being able to cover much more ground in a shorter amount of time.
The FAA temporarily waived the regulation that banned drones from being operated beyond the pilot’s line of sight. This was done in order to allow Zipline to test their drone delivery of medical supplies to Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center in North Carolina. As of now the FAA waiver is due to expire on October 10 or until all COVID related restrictions are stopped in the state of North Carolina, whichever is earlier. However, if Zipline shows promising results with their medical drone delivery, there is no reason why the FAA shouldn’t amend the regulation to allow for this exemption.