Draganfly, a US drone maker that is also one of the major competitors of DJI Chinese drones, has partnered up with the Australian Department of Defense and the University of South Australia. The company is working on special pandemic drones that can automatically detect sneeze, cough, fever, respiratory rate, and more from a distance.
The pandemic drones are a result of the collaboration between the University of South Australia and the Australian DOD called the Vital Intelligence Project. The project deals with incorporating Artificial Intelligence with deep learning and data science. With the help of AI, the pandemic drone will be able to track and detect respiratory diseases from a distance. It will help increase the chances of recovering people as well as detecting them amid a crowd or even at their home.
The Vital Intelligence project claims that the Draganfly will be able to detect cough, sneeze, and fever from a distance, but how the working of the drone goes has not been revealed by the Australian government yet. The Association has also released a demo video of the pandemic drone, and sure it is, that the drone can detect COVID-19 symptoms from a distance and alert immediately.
The Director of Draganfly, and the former White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, said that “As we move forward, drones and autonomous technology doing detection will be an important part of ensuring public safety.” He further added, “Draganfly is honored to work on such an important project given the current pandemic facing the world with COVID-19”.
The Australian government has released no official statement on when the pandemic drones are expected to be released or whether they will initiate the project just as a pilot test in some areas before they decide to release it to the entire world globally. Most people in the US may find it uneasy about having a drone monitoring them all the time, like respiratory breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Still, in the long run, it is for the safety of the population. A spokesperson of Draganfly on being asked about the drones said, “working with local and regional gov. officials on engaging the drones as soon as possible in the most obvious hot spots throughout the US.”
If facts are to be checked, the cost involved in the Vital Intelligence Project is nothing compared to the cost involved in other researches being carried on to help stop the spread of Coronavirus across the world. Although the prospect of having a futuristic drone monitoring the health of individuals seems a little far-fetched, the day is not far when it will come true, and the pandemic drones will be on the street alerting us on detecting a COVID-19 positive case.
No further comments are released by the Association or the government of Australia about the pandemic drones or its date of release. On being contacted for information, there was no response from their end.