The Global Pandemic Sees Drones being Used for New Use Cases

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3Q 2020 | IN-5868

The rise of the Agricultural Technology (AgTech) industry has seen the use of a variety of solutions to increase the efficiency of the world’s agricultural markets. These solutions range from soil sensors to livestock-tracking devices and agricultural drones, all used so that typical day-to-day tasks on agricultural land can be done at a more efficient rate, minimizing the necessity of human interaction at the same time. The use of drones within the agriculture market offers the ability to both map the land used and distribute fertilizers and other agricultural substances with ease and without human intervention.

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New Use Cases Found for Agricultural Drones


Agricultural drone companies have started to see an increase in demand as the pandemic continues to take its toll globally. XAG, an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and agricultural solution provider founded in 2007 and headquartered in Guangzhou, China, announced that within 1Q 2020 it witnessed an increase in demand for its newest agricultural drone model, delivering 4,000 units within the first two months of the year. DJI Agriculture is also seeing an increase in demand, however not for the typical usage of an agricultural drone; in Spain, its drones are being used to spray large areas with disinfectant in the effort to combat COVID-19. The Spanish military is using both DJI’s AGRAS MG-1 model and a local drone manufacturer, DroneTools, which is headquartered in Seville, to deploy the disinfectant.

Not only are drones being used to distribute disinfectant across large social spaces, they are also being used to detect individuals who could possibly be infected with the virus and at risk of spreading it. High temperatures are one of COVID-19’s most common symptoms, and something that can be distinguished with the use of the drones. The Vital Intelligence Project, an initiative by Draganfly and the Australian government’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), plans to use both drones and thermal sensing cameras to distinguish individuals who have higher temperatures without the risk of breaking the social distancing measures that have been put in place.

As Restrictions Are Lifted, So Is Disinfectant


As governments start to ease the lockdown periods of the pandemic, it is important to make it safe for civilians to visit and use large public areas while keeping to the guidelines that are being put in place. The use of drones for these purposes will not only disinfect large public areas, but also to be able to ease the public’s mind. The middle of March saw China, where the pandemic initially started, ease restrictions and come out of its lockdown period. Drones were being used in China as a significant tool for responding to the pandemic. The drones were used for aerial disinfects, medical sample transport, and general consumer good deliveries. Disinfectant being circularized by drones is a considerably more efficient method.

With drones being used for a variety of different things during the pandemic, it is clear that they will have an important impact on its outcome, improving the speed and safety with which operations can be carried out and showing that they have the opportunity to be able to help tackle, or even prevent, a future pandemic if one were to happen in the years to come. With a variety of different technologies and organizations pulling together, drones offer the ability to combat the pandemic from different angles, including prevention, disinfection, and equipment distribution.

Drone Deployments to Fly into the Sky


There is no doubt that, in some specific market verticals, COVID-19 will ultimately take its toll and reduce shipments and deployments for specific solutions and applications, as they will no longer be deemed a necessity, although the opposite effect has taken place in specific markets, such as wearables and smart home devices, too. With the introduction of the newer, innovative use cases for agricultural drones that have come to light during the global pandemic, it is likely that drone shipments will not minimize but will in fact grow, with demand increasing especially due to their ability to mass-sterilize public places.

At the outset of this pandemic, many manufacturing problems occurred for several different reasons, especially for companies seeking components, materials, and products from manufacturing sites based in China. This supply chain disruption ultimately delayed several different aspects of the process of building and shipping electronic devices. For drone companies to be able to get the full benefit of the surge in demand, clear and precise plans must be put in place so that supply chains will not be interrupted and therefore supply can meet the new levels of demand both now and in the future.



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