China is using drones and autonomous robots to fight coronavirus
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading all over the world at an escalating rate and, currently, has killed 2788 people (as of Thursday, 28th February, 2020, according to WHO).The deaths are only a fraction, as almost 80,000 people have been diagnosed with the infection.
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had its first case show up in Wuhan, China on December 07th, 2019 and, from there, started to spread very rapidly throughout the city. Ever since, the city has been on almost complete shutdown and people are not allowed to enter or leave unless it’s very important. The coronavirus did, however, find its way out and spread further.
Chinese authorities are consistently trying to prevent the infection from spreading further by using different techniques. Now, the Chinese government has started using drones and robots to fight the infection. The systems are mainly used to communicate with the general public and also, to transfer physical materials to and from laboratories. Authorities are also using specialized mini tanks to disinfect areas that have been isolated. This methodology of using technology to fight against such an almost pandemic infection is very smart and beneficial.
The essential intent behind this mode of interaction is to limit human-to-human contact and also to make communication faster. Currently, thousands of people are in isolation in China. There are whole towns that have been cut off. It is, however and of course, still very important to communicate with these people.
There are reports of the drones, manufactured by Shenzhen MicroMultiCopter, having loud speakers and the authorities using these to direct people to stay in their homes, and/or to give them other forms of instructions. There are also “thermometer guns” that are being used by medical staff members to read out people’s temperatures to check for fever, without physical contact. Some sources also state that there are certain drones with thermal imaging that are being used to detect people having fevers, from high above. The drones are also being used to transport food to hospitals as well as to transport blood samples and other physical materials.
When China built the Huoshenshan Hospital in a 6-day record period, work at the site got carried out 24/7 and the drones were greatly helpful with providing light to the workers at night.
Hospitals full of infected people are also being disinfected using autonomous robots that disinfect by emitting concentrated UV light which is basically germicidal radiation. As the robots are self-driving, they are controlled through connected mobile applications operated by the hospital staff.
In the streets, specialized remote controlled mini tanks are being used to disinfect areas. These tanks emit disinfectant gases and can cover 540,000 square feet in just an hour!
The concept of using automated technology to combat infectious diseases was also considered when Ebola broke out in 2014. It was that time when multiple scientists started working on it.
Coronavirus code-named as COVID-19 however is the first viral disease to get dealt with modern technology. This will also provide a potential method to stop future infectious diseases from spreading at very early stages.
Images: © WHO, Yi Chen / Twitter, UVD Robots, Janus Engineering, MBS News