Draganfly, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan designer and manufacturer of specialized commercial drones, has deployed a fleet of specially equipped unmanned aerial vehicles near New York City in a pilot project to detect the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As reported in eFlight on March 27, Draganfly has been working with the University of Southern Australia to equip Draganfly drones with specialized sensors that can measure not only social distancing compliance, but also detect the presence of fevers by sensing body temperature from a distance. The sensors can also detect heart and respiratory rates, as well as people sneezing and coughing in crowds. All this from a distance of about 58 metres (190 feet).

Participating in the project is Vital Intelligence, Inc., which provides data analysis for the pilot project, directed by the Westport, Connecticut police department. Fairfield County, adjacent to New York City and within which Westport is located, is a local epicentre of coronavirus infections.

“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” said local government official Jim Marpe.

“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,” added DraganFly’s CEO Cameron Chell.