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OPLIN 4Cast #699: The pandemic has put the spotlight on drones

Posted in 4cast, and Drones

We’ve certainly covered drones before on the 4cast, but the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to highlight some of their capabilities; in some cases, those capabilities are new…and perhaps problematic, as the Electronic Freedom Foundation points out.

  • CVS and UPS now delivering prescriptions via drone in Florida [Gizmodo] “Starting May 4, residents of The Villages retirement community, a collection of 55-plus communities in Florida, are eligible to have their prescriptions picked up from participating CVS pharmacies and delivered to their doorstep via a UPS-operated drone. The first test flights will be less than half a mile from one CVS store, and UPS Ground drivers will complete the delivery, at least initially. If that goes well, two more CVS stores will join at a later date.”
  • ‘Pandemic drones’ are flying over the US to detect coronavirus symptoms [TheNextWeb] “The drones are fitted with sensors and computer vision systems that measure body temperature, breathing, and heart rates from up to 190 feet. They can also spot if someone’s sneezing, coughing, or following social distancing rules.”
  • Drones could help fight coronavirus by air-dropping medical supplies [CNN] “Zipline, based in San Francisco, has used drones to deliver blood and medical products to hospitals and health centers in Rwanda since 2016. Last year, it expanded to Ghana and now it wants to accelerate plans to begin deliveries in the United States.”
  • Israeli farmers deploy pollinating drones to fill COVID-19 labor shortage [The Jerusalem Post] “The large-scale project uses multiple drones flying simultaneously, equipped with innovative pods developed by Dropcopter to store and effectively dispense pollen from the air. The solution replaces an alternative and inefficient technique using fans attached to tractors.”

From the Ohio Web Library: