Drones, Patented Technologies & Its Impact During The Pandemic

Drone’s popularity and sale have risen steadily in recent years all around the world. While several industries, including hospitality and tourism, came to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020; the drone business did not falter. The lockdown only seemed to increase the demand for drones – quite dramatically. While the long-term effects of this pandemic will take months or perhaps years to unearth, its impact on the drone business has shown one thing: drones are here to stay and can serve humanity in remarkable ways.

This article discusses how drones have been employed in everyday life since COVID-19, as well as the proprietary technology that allows them to do so. But first, let’s take a look at the expanding importance of drones in terms of market size.

Drones and Market Size

The worldwide unmanned aerial vehicle market is expected to increase due to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)/drones in application areas such as defence, civil work, or entertainment. At present, drones are not just used for photography or logistics, but in fields such as cleaning, firefighting or fruit picking, etc. As per a market research report, the UAV market sizeis projected to be USD 27.4 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach USD 58.4 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 16.4% from the year 2021 to 2026.

Role of Drones in Assisting Humankind in Daily Tasks During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the deployment of drone technology in numerous settings. To reduce turnaround time and infection risk, the healthcare industry is using drones for lab sample pickup and delivery, as well as transportation of medical supplies.

Similarly, public health authorities are deploying ‘agriculture spray drones’ to spray disinfectants in impacted areas to sanitize public spaces and stop the spread of COVID-19. This is because such drones can cover more ground in lesser time and at a speed 50 times faster than traditional methods.

So, let’s talk about tasks for which drones can be used and understand the patented technology they use to execute them.

Figure 1: Day-to-day tasks that drones can perform to minimize human intervention

1. Monitor Compliance with Mask Wearing Norms

Viruses are commonly disseminated among people during a pandemic via droplets. In such a scenario, wearing masks can effectively block and limit the virus spread and cross-infection. Generally, manual monitoring is conducted to check whether the public is wearing masks. However, the method is not feasible due to the sheer population at public locations. Similarly, the cost of manual supervision is significant. Furthermore, the chances of frontline warriors getting exposed to the disease are also very high. To avoid this situation, the use of drones is proposed to monitor and ensure public compliance of mask-wearing norms and remind people violating norms to wear the mask.

To perform such operations, the drone is equipped with a mask recognition device that can capture videos or images of the public and detect whether or not a person is wearing a mask. In case it detects a person without mask, a tracking module instructs the drone to fly to track the person and send a reminder in the form of an audio or video signal. To read more about the patented technology, click here.

2. Deliver Medicines

Minimizing human intervention in various tasks and social distancing is the need of the hour during the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovators are going an extra mile to develop drone technologies that can be useful to control the spread of this virus. A proposed new drone technology named ‘MeDrone’ suggests the use of drones for the delivery of medicine from pharmacy to the patient in order to minimize human intervention.

Similarly, MeDrone technology can be deployed in hospitals to dispense medicines to the designated patient’s location. MeDrone can navigate across/inside the building and open spaces. It uses relevant application software for creating and integrating the associated database with UI. In the database, all the information about location and drone propagation is stored. A medicine storage box is coupled with the drone and it can be only accessed by OTP/RFID authentication for security reasons. The drones can also return unused drugs from the patient’s location to the drugstore. To read more about the patented technology, click here.

Figure 2: Prototype of MeDrone

3. Monitor Body Temperature

Measuring body temperature in public places is common these days. However, when done manually, the task increases the risk of infection to the person recording the temperature. To overcome this disadvantage of manual monitoring, the use of drones is proposed. Drones can measure a user’s temperature from a distance. The system also reminds people to maintain social distance.

Drones using this technology comprise a plurality of cameras, an infrared temperature sensor, a controlling module, a drone laser module, a communication module, an image processing module, an alert module, a distance sensor, and a messaging module. The drone laser module is connected to the controlling module for focusing a laser beam on a person who is recognized without a mask and has a temperature greater than the threshold value, and the laser beam is focused on the user after the controlling module sends the first and second command signals. To know more about this patented technology, click here.

Figure 3: Illustration of a flow diagram used to explain the method used in the system

Conclusion

To stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the world is taking a variety of measures, ranging from social distancing to vaccination. In addition to that, drones can help in controlling the spread of the virus by minimizing human intervention in the tasks mentioned above. Furthermore, the use of drones also reduces the chances of front-line warriors contracting the virus as they are a high-risk category. Healthy frontline workers can perform their duties effectively and help in controlling its spread.

Sagacious IP, global IP research and consulting firm can help businesses develop their ideas pertaining to drone technology and transform them into patent-worthy inventions. Our patent searching services can help organizations to develop or modify novel inventions. Click here to know more about this service.

-Akshay Bhardwaj, Rohit Kumar (Engineering Searching) and the Editorial Team

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