Falcon Eye Drones Services (FEDS), Middle East’s leading and one of the world’s top Drone-as-a-Service (DaaS) company, confirmed that the speed of the initiative of government agencies in the UAE to use the capabilities of the drone to speed up the fight against the coronavirus confirms its proactive approach by adopting the latest technologies to maintain and enhance its leading position in various fields.
Rabih Bou Rashid, CEO of FEDS, said: "The rapid spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has played a vital role in accelerating the adoption of the drone in a growing list of unconventional tasks, which is what we have witnessed in the UAE, which has become a global leader in utilising latest technologies to improve people’s quality of life and enhance the country’s competitiveness.”
Bou Rashid also mentioned that even before the threat of the pandemic, drones have already been showing promising ways to provide human support more efficiently. In early 2020, FEDS—together with the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment—has completed its drone seeding of 6.25 million Ghaf and Samar trees across 25 locations in the country in a span of a few days—a much shorter time compared to the decades it used to take farmers to complete such process.
“COVID-19 has prompted more usage of drones, with a lot of countries utilising them to conduct its services without the risk of infection. We must put drones to our advantage in this crisis, as this technology offers a unique yet safe way to conduct remotely what used to be only human-to-human interactions,” he said. “The ability of drones to deliver daily assistance at a distance makes it a favourable technology in the future.”
“Drones will be an essential part of the daily lives of humans and will be as vital as phones are to everyone today. And now, more than ever, drones give us a fighting chance in our battle against the epidemic with the several solutions they offer for epidemic control,” he said.
Further to this, FEDS highlighted five ways on how drones can speed up the fight against coronavirus disease COVID-19 and strengthen the enforcement of the #stayhome campaign.
Drones, equipped with loudspeakers, are significantly helpful in epidemic control by conveying information to the public and enforcing the #stayhome campaign amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
In the UAE, police authorities such as Dubai Police and Sharjah Police, are now utilising drones to disseminate messages to encourage residents to stay home and avoid stepping out unless necessary.
The message – aired out in loudspeakers in different languages such as Arabic, English, Urdu, and Filipino – says, “Stay home. Avoid gathering. Stay away from anything that puts you and your family at risk. It is our wish for everyone to be safe.”
Bou Rashid said this is to maintain the health and safety of the community while keeping the authorities protected. Some countries, he said, have been using drones to share key information on personal sanitation, disinfection, and self-protection to educate the community.
The UAE has also used drones during the recent national disinfection program. Drones, Bou Rashid said, can carry up to 16 liters of spraying disinfectant—a feature that allows them to fumigate large areas without sending people into impacted places. Drone sprays are estimated to be 50 times more efficient than hand sprays.
He added that the drones of FEDS, for instance, have a spraying efficiency of 180 mu per hour, and can already cover 120,000 square meters. They also have omnidirectional radar to be able to carry out the mission automatically.
According to Bou Rashid, drones can help detect new cases as they are equipped with a dual visual and infrared image sensor—making it easy to measure body temperature from a safe distance and reducing the risk of further infection.
He added that drones can travel up to one-kilometer radius, allowing for a large area observation in a shorter period.
Monitoring and Crowd Guidance
Authorities can deploy drones to monitor people who defy government decisions, allowing strict enforcement of regulations. Surveillance drones are capable to identify those who have broken the country’s confinement laws.
The drones are also used to guide crowds and vehicles in places prone to infection in a much safer and more efficient manner. Drones, Bou Rashid said, can carry out onsite guidance like patrols in key transport hub areas to minimise congestion, as well as observe public areas to locate unprotected crowds.
Without drones, Bou Rashid said common issues like road congestion and crowd gathering, would require onsite manpower—which could lead to cross-infection.
Bou Rashid noted that drones can deliver necessary goods without human contacts—such as samples, medicine, and groceries. He added that since human-to-human contact is risky at this time, some nations have utilised robots for contactless deliveries—reducing cross-infection while making sure aid arrives for people in need.
“Robots like drones are immune to infection, so many countries have stepped up to get them out in force to deliver medical supplies and other goods. Drones have indeed proven their value especially to those who are quarantined at homes,” he said.
The CEO also stressed that FEDS can offer these types of services, saying: “We do our best for our drones to become essential support in battling this disease. Today, we are at war with the disease, and it is only right to treat advanced technologies like drones as our allies in combating this pandemic,” he said.