A "PANDEMIC drone" that would detect coronavirus symptoms from 190 feet away – and take people's temperatures – is being tested by police in the US.
The drone is equipped with a specialised sensor and "computer vision systems" that will also monitor heart and respiratory rates, according to Draganfly, an aircraft manufacturing company.
The first test flights took place in Westport, Connecticut considered a coronavirus "hotspot," according to the company.
Westport is located in Fairfield County, which is considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the state of Connecticut.
The heavily-populated county is adjacent to New York City, which has the most COVID-19 cases in the US.
Draganfly said the technology can "accurately detect infectious conditions" from a distance of 190 feet and can also measure social distancing.
“The Westport Police Department is one of the most progressive public safety agencies in the nation and real pioneers when it comes to adopting and integrating new technology to enhance the safety of their citizens and first responders,” said Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell.
“This coronavirus pandemic has opened up a new frontier for advanced drones.
"In conjunction with our partners, including the town of Westport, together we are the first in the US to implement this state-of-the-art technology to analyse data in a way that has been peer reviewed and clinically researched to save lives.”
The city plans to use the drone technology to help protect such at-risk groups as seniors and people who socialise in large groups.
It is being called the Flatten the Curve Pilot Program.
“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.
“One way to do this is to look for underlying symptoms."
Said Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas: "This technology not only enhances the safety of our officers and the public, but the concept of using drones remains a go-to technology for reaching the most remote areas with little to no manpower needed.
"It also helps our officers acquire decision quality data they need to make the best choices in any given situation.”
There have been 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Connecticut, with 1,400 deaths.
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