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Around the world, authorities are turning to drones in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, using them to enforce lockdowns and disinfect urban areas. With cities in lockdown, this technology has become an important tool in keeping people off the streets.

The trend began in China in the early weeks of the outbreak and has since gone global, with drones fitted with loudspeakers used to remind the public of lockdown measures and admonish rule-breakers. The drone liberates officers to do other tasks and keeps them remote from possible infection risk.

Attend the AUS&R Unmanned Systems and Robotics Conference and Exhibition on September 6, 2020

Meanwhile, in France police have been testing surveillance drones to identify those who have broken the country’s confinement laws, as reported by france24.com. A drone is not going to replace a police officer, but it’s part of the information gathering, according to the Paris Police.

To keep people indoors, Spanish authorities are using speaker-mounted drones to find and promptly yell at people still congregating in the streets. 

According to popularmechanics.com evaluation, it’s more than doubtful that police would ever do this in the US. Back in January, the US Department of the Interior signed a no-fly order to officially ground all of its drones due to cybersecurity concerns with drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese parts. 

However, a police department in California already plans to use drones equipped with loudspeakers and night vision cameras to enforce a coronavirus lockdown, according to ft.com. 

In Israel, also, municipal authorities and police have started to use a drone in order to enforce the lockdown. For example, the Municipality of Bat-Yam recently used drones equipped with loudspeakers to document gatherings in public spaces such as parks and the city promenade, dispersing the residents and calling them to go home. The Municipality of Petah Tikva will start using drones in the next few days. According to ynet.co.il, following an operational test, the drone will disperse gatherings using its loudspeaker system. The drone’s range reaches 8 km and it is equipped with a camera system streaming video to the operator in real-time. The drone is equipped with night vision capabilities and a spotlight. Similar use was documented also in other cities, e.g. Ashdod, Nahariya, and more.

Interested in learning more about drone law enforcement uses? Attend the AUS&R Unmanned Systems and Robotics Conference and Exhibition on September 6, 2020

Details and registration