The global response to the Corona epidemic has created a demand for new and innovative ways to fight the spread of the virus. Around the world tools like drones are being used for various purposes including as loudspeakers to warn people about social distancing and to stay at home like what the police are now doing in Rwanda, to spray disinfectant in the streets like China was doing, to deliver blood samples and to check temperatures.
A local drone company, Precision Aerial wants to use spraying drones to disinfect large areas of the city, public places like bus terminuses, inner-city trading areas like Siyaso and Mbare Msika and other places where it’s needed.
They have partnered with Clean City which is already doing widespread disinfection using various methods including handheld knapsacks. Together they have been developing & testing the use of Agricultural crop-spraying drones for disinfection to spray and cover larger areas, faster and more efficiently than current methods being used. The spraying drones can spray 8 X faster than knapsacks and reduce exposure and health risk to the people involved in the spraying process as the operator can spray with a drone at a safe distance.
The founder of Precision Aerial, Tawanda Chihambakwe, who is also one of the few licensed professional drone pilots in Zimbabwe, says that they have the same spraying drones that were being used in China to disinfect the streets and are willing to put them to use.
Tawanda is not new to drone technology innovation in Zimbabwe, he is one of the leading drone experts who also started the first local drone racing community a few years ago and we recently did a podcast with him about the work he is doing with drones in education and the future of the industry.
The Precision Aerial founder says they are willing to provide their technical expertise, experience and professional drone services to operate the spraying drones for free as a national service in helping to fight the spread of COVID-19;
We completed demonstrations and testing several days before the official lockdown was announced. We then engaged Civil Aviation Authority and followed the flight planning & safety protocols, we are now seeking final approval and permission from government to begin to operate the drones in the City but it has been almost 2 weeks nowTawanda Chihambakwe – Precision Aerial
In an effort to bring more awareness and understanding to the government about their proposal to use the spraying drones, they created this informational video that shows the usefulness and impact that the drones can have on the ground;
Other countries which have started using drones to fight COVID-19 include China, India, Spain, Italy, Ghana, United States, Malaysia, Ivory Coast & Rwanda.
It’s refreshing to see local companies step up with this kind of technology. Hopefully, the government and relevant authorities can see the value and fast track the permissions so that we can see these drones in action on the streets sometime soon.