Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our methods of performing daily activities have required adaptation. The typical 9 to 5 office routine is a thing of the past, and now the home office is being encouraged. It is a reality that we will have to adapt our lives during this pandemic and try to find new methods to perform work while minimizing human interaction where possible. This condition puts a strong emphasis on the introduction of autonomous unmanned systems more than before.
Most Beneficial Applications of Unmanned Systems & Robotics During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Autonomous drones and robotic systems have proved to be some of the most beneficial applications of unmanned systems and robotics during the pandemic. To hinder the spread of this transmissible virus and keep companies safely productive, various businesses and government authorities around the world have brought these unmanned systems into use in different innovative methods.
1. Surveillance & Broadcast
To effectively implement and monitor lockdowns in effected areas, government authorities have used drones regularly to assess population density and traffic flow, initiate contact tracing, and convey the required message and instructions without the need for government and medical personnel to be physically present.
This concept was initially implemented in China and Spain but later it was practiced by other country’s governments too. Police departments in New Jersey and Florida have brought the drone technology into use for surveillance and broadcasting of instructions, which have proved to be very productive and effective.
On the other hand, the Singapore police department is getting ahead of other authorities in containing COVID by carrying out trials with Airobotic’s fully autonomous drones for surveillance. These drones can automatically identify areas where social distancing is being violated and report them to the police to restrain the spread of COVID.
Along with this, drones are also being operated in other industries, such as Oil and Gas. Airobotics manufactured drones are supporting this industry by carrying out inspection & surveillance at a large scale at a faster pace. This capability provides professionals with real-time data, remote supervision, and monitoring from anywhere in the world. This application is not only safe by reducing human involvement, but it also helps in addressing the problem areas at a fast rate, more productive, and less expensive.
The real-time collected data helps the experts in making accurate reports and better decisions, reducing the cost and the required time.
2. Disinfecting Public Spaces & Buildings
As studies suggest that coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces, unmanned systems and robotics are brought into use to disinfect public spaces such as parks, benches, Hospitals, buildings etc. Several drone manufacturers are customizing their drone systems in a way so that they can be used to disinfect stadiums, parks, indoor courts, etc. This method has proved to be safer, time, and cost-efficient for large spaces as it eliminates the factor of human involvement.
But the above-mentioned method is not feasible for indoor spaces e.g. offices, hospitals, schools, etc. Ultra-Violet (UV) light Robots are being used to disinfect indoor spaces. UV light, due to its short wavelength can destroy bacteria and viruses with a disinfection rate of more than 99%. It can sterilize every inch of the area, which is not possible with other disinfection methods.
3. Temperature Monitoring
During the pandemic peak in China, local authorities were tasked with providing physical temperature checks at a large scale to identify people infected by COVID-19. This method put the person checking the other person’s temperature in significant danger of contracting the virus and this process was not efficient. To avoid this situation, drones were equipped with thermal cameras so the temperature of residents could be examined safely from a distance.
For robots to perform the temperature detection, they must be equipped with high-quality thermal cameras such as FLIR thermal imaging cameras, that can offer accurate screening at a faster rate to correctly identify the COVID-19 affected persons. In June 2020, in response to the COVID-19 situation, FLIR released FLIR Screen-EST software for its thermal imaging camera models which can automatically identify high skin temperature in less than two seconds. Placed at entries and checkpoints, this software is helping in making the screening process faster and safer. Its unique technology assists in identifying skin temperature near the lacrimal duct, the surface which is most closely associated with actual body temperature.
Robots have also been working to support frontline health workers in this fight. Due to the infectious nature of the coronavirus, they are providing contact-free alternatives from remotely taking temperatures and measuring blood pressures, delivering food to patients, to cleaning an infected room without putting human life at risk.
One such example is “Spot”, developed by Boston Dynamics. It is not just a typical wheeled robot that can only operate in limited conditions on flat surfaces. Spot is an agile robot, meaning that it is able to quickly able to adapt to varied terrain, a dynamic environment or to the task requirements. This functionality allows Spot to climb stairs and offer remote operation on any terrain type with unusual ease.
Spot’s various applications make it suitable to be used in a variety of industries like oil & gas, energy, industrial manufacturing, health and medicine, research, and others. With the increased demand for telemedicine, it was recently tested at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts to help health workers to perform their duties without the exposure to COVID-19 infected patients. An iPad and two-way radio was mounted on the robot’s back, which allowed the health workers telemedicine capabilities, allowing them to interact with COVID-19 positive patients while maintaining social distancing.
5. Sports and Entertainment
Due to this COVID-19 pandemic, all major sports events around the world are either postponed or canceled to practice social distancing. This has caused a massive disappointment among fans. But after months of lockdown, various sporting events are starting to take place, but in the absence of fans.
Without fans and cheerleaders, the high-energy of professional sports is lost. In an attempt to fill this gap, Boston Dynamic‘s “Spot” and Softbank Robotics “Pepper” robots collaborated to produce a choreographed dance routine in a game between the Rakuten Golden Eagles and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, in the Nippon Professional Baseball games in Japan.
The above examples clearly explain some of the capabilities of drones and robotic systems and the important impact they can have as the world manages the COVID-19 pandemic. But to perform these functions, advanced technologies must be quickly deployed with high quality and reliable designs, engineered to provide immediate relief to all facets of society.
How Syncroness is Contributing to Developing These Latest Technologies
Situated in Westminster, Colorado, Syncroness enables unmanned systems and robotics manufacturers the ability to deploy advanced technologies, in a rapidly changing environment. From thermal calibration to smart battery packs, airborne LIDAR systems, and more, Syncroness talent includes experts in Mechanical, Electrical, Software, Systems, and Quality Engineering, as well as professional Project Managers that can solve any engineering challenge.
Our engineers are passionate about helping our customers develop their complex unmanned systems, medical devices, and other products, which can support the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic and help the world in so many new different ways which were unimaginable in the past.
Our goal is not only to give our clients a competitive technological edge but also to enable products that are beneficial and profitable to society. Contact us today to see how Syncroness can help your team achieve your unmanned systems and robotics program goals.