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DJI helps fight the coronavirus with drones

20 March 2020 by Adrienn Kerekes 0 Comments

The new COVID-19 coronavirus first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, but has now spread throughout the world. As of February 12, the death toll in mainland China had exceeded 1,113, with a total of 44,563 confirmed cases.

With the spread of the epidemic, public safety issues are also increasing, and concern is also increasing. How far can the virus spread? How can people protect themselves?

To help ease fears and address the crisis, China's public security officials have been exploring ways to use new technologies to combat the virus — and DJI is rising to the challenge with drones.

Disinfection of public spaces with drones

DJI is working with agricultural technology expert groups to combat the infestation. On February 4, we committed to providing almost 1.5 million US dollars in support to curb the epidemic. Our Agras series of agricultural sprayer drones have been modified to spray disinfectant on potentially affected areas. The use of drones could dramatically improve China's chances of trying to neutralize the virus in public spaces: drones can cover much more ground than traditional methods, reducing the risk to workers who would otherwise spend more time potentially exposed to both the virus and the disinfectant.

After research and testing, the teams developed best practices for aerial spraying of chlorine- or ethyl alcohol-based disinfectants. The concentration of the solution and the flight guidelines can be modified under different circumstances, such as in light of whether an area is known to be infected.

DJI sprayed disinfectant over more than 3 million square meters in Shenzhen. The company is also helping to adopt the spraying method in 1,000 counties in China. Target areas include factories, residential areas, hospitals and waste treatment plants. This means a total of 600 million square meters of coverage across the country. With this solution, spraying efficiency can be 50 times faster than traditional methods. In a crisis where time is critical, this is great news.

"It used to be very difficult to help contain a disease and keep personnel safe at the same time," said Romeo Durscher, DJI's senior director of public safety integration. "It was a completely grassroots initiative. Users motivated us to take action and it was worth the effort. This is what DJI stands for, where anyone with access to these new tools can contribute to improving their environment and helping society.”

The use of drones in several ways during the epidemic

The past few weeks have provided an opportunity to explore new ways to contain the spread of COVID-19 in China. The drones are equipped with loudspeakers to facilitate the breaking up of public gatherings in crowded places. Banners were attached to the drones explaining the precautions. In addition, drones with thermal cameras have helped medical staff identify potential new infections.

Drone delivery is another popular topic. Due to the epidemic, millions of families were forced to stay at home and avoid contact. Contactless delivery can be of great help to these households. Organizations can also send food, supplies and medicine to those in need. At the same time, avoiding personal contact reduces the risk of infection.

Continuing the fight against COVID-19

The battle with the new coronavirus has only just begun. The number of infected people in China and outside is constantly increasing. However, the latest reports indicate that this may be changing. Researchers learn more about the virus every day. Research is being carried out in laboratories around the world to develop a vaccine. And the population is also doing its part by taking all possible precautions.

While COVID-19 remains a real threat, countless innovative minds are working to develop 21st century solutions that can save lives. At DJI, we are proud to support these initiatives in any way we can and continue the #DronesForGood campaign to protect first responders and the public. We hope that one of the lessons learned from this crisis will be that we can use drones, sensors and state-of-the-art solutions more effectively in the future in medical, humanitarian and disaster response and rescue operations.

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