A Disruptive Week : A Pause to Reflect on Drone Technology and a World Immersed in Covid-19 Complexities

Normally, on Friday, we would be running our series “Friday Fun Flights – Our Weekly Summary of the Weird, the Whacky, and the Wonderful Things with The Drones Up There!”

But given the extraordinary circumtances of this week, we think it’s appropriate to pause on that for a time.

Instead, let’s consider for a brief moment the sometimes beneficial and potentially eerie role that drone technology might play as the crisis continues to unfold at a staggering speed.

Let’s start here: we came across an article, “Businesses are Rethinking How They Use Drones…”

The opening paragraph captures the essence of the issue – any big disruption does provide an industry and people with innovative new opportunities, and we are certain this is going to unfold over time with how drones are used throughout society. The highlighted sentence is key.

The global pandemic COVID-19 (more commonly known as Coronavirus 2019) has been a major disruptor globally, from travel restrictions and event cancellations to impacts to supply chain and distribution shortages, a lot of what we do and how we go about doing it is being effected, which in turn is impacting the stock market and the bottom line for businesses. Finding ways to mitigate losses is going to be a major differentiator for companies looking to weather the crisis. Because of their ability to respond quickly and operate autonomously, one major mitigating factor receiving a lot of media attention has been the use of drones.

Businesses are Rethinking How They Use Drones…”, Commercial UAV News

This got us thinking – how are governments, businesses and organizations exploring the opportunity? We quickly came up with a number of observations where they can and are playing a powerful role:

The ability to deliver goods (i.e. food and pharmaceuticals), particularly to at-risk people under lockdown, or between hospitals and testing laboratories. This was something that was actively done between Xinchang County People’s Hospital and Xinchang County’s Disease Control Center in Wuhan Province in China.

Aerial, remote disinfectant of particular areas (i.e. drive through COVID-19 areas outside hospitals), minimizing safety risk and exposure

The acceleration of the development of the technology by Amazon and others for supply chain and local product delivery

But at the same time, there’s a disquieting aspect to these new opportunities. We’re pretty certain, for example, that you’ve seen the video of the aerial drone ‘yelling’ at an elderly Chinese woman who was violating the lockdown.

Then, consider this story out of China:

What’s up? This article in Gizmodooffers up more on this eerie future:

Police are flying drones around vehicle checkpoints with a large QR code that people are supposed to scan to register their health information. And while we didn’t believe it at first, reports from China’s state-run media indicate that it’s actually happening.

China Using Drones in Increasingly Dystopian Ways to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak.

So there are two sides to our future – good and bad….

Whatever the case may be, we’re pretty certain that at one time in the future, we will look back at today, and know that there were a number of innovative, and a number of scary uses for which drone technology is put to use for.

We wish everyone the best during this time. Stay safe, stay smart, and wash your hands!

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