In China, they started using drones to fight corona viruses. Or not?

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We can often see information about new laws regulating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Usually they mean quadrocopters. Most of them are households, like DJI Mavic or Phantom, but there is a more serious technique. Someone will say that regulation is necessary to reduce the number of freedoms, but many will agree that this is an element of security (inclusive). After all, if this 3-10 kg falls on your head from a height of a few hundred meters, it doesn't seem to be enough. All of these measures show that drones have already become our satellites. The situation in China has become an additional confirmation of this. Although this may just be advertising and someone is wonderfully advertised in an ugly situation.

An army of drones can do a lot. As they say, one in the field is not a warrior.


1 What is happening in China?
2 How to treat the area in front of the virus?
3 Use of drones in special operations
4 Why you can't use drones to deal with disasters

What's going on in china

Everyone knows that, of course, but according to tradition, as it should be in such a situation, we have to remember what is happening in China for those in the tank. If, like Brandon Fraser's hero from the film "Explosion from the Past", you came out of a military bunker that had never been on the surface before, I will tell you that a new epidemic is gaining momentum in the world, whose first signs were uncovered at the end of December last year.

At first everything seemed localized and the virus stayed in China, but after a few months its traces were discovered in other countries around the world. Including in Italy. In addition, the increase in incidence in this country was just insane. Thousands of people got sick within a few days.

We are talking about the coronavirus COVID-19, which is transmitted very quickly, affects the human mucous membranes and in some cases leads to death. The main symptoms are fever, weakness, diarrhea and some others. As a result, everything becomes pneumonia that is not cured in all patients. As a result, as of this writing, more than 90,000 people in the world were already infected and more than 3,000 people died.

How to treat the area before the virus

In order to take action and not only treat people but also stay ahead of the curve, special services clean the area with special tools that reduce the activity of the virus or kill it completely. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the virus is not as persistent. It cannot exist long without the donor cell protein and dies at temperatures above 40-45 degrees.

In addition to processing to reduce the activity of viruses, it is important in an epidemic to prevent it from spreading in the air with dust and other suspended matter. Sometimes when treating areas, irrigation is simply done with water to nail dust. This method is not always used and is sometimes even prohibited, but it also makes sense.

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In any case, this is done by specially trained people in special suits that preclude interaction with an aggressive environment. In any case, this is dangerous because there is always a risk of infection in the focus of the disease. Special technical means are often used for this.

Use of drones in special operations

We all know of cases where drones are used in military operations. They can be flight systems that run an existing program or can only be remotely controlled, or they can be terrestrial or even underwater / underground systems. It all depends on the needs and the task.

The use of drones in agriculture has become widespread.

In some cases, agriculture can also be called a specialty because it also uses sophisticated equipment and involves operators who work with it. Now this technique is used to work in the infection zone in several provinces in China.

There is a drone manufacturer like XAG, which was formerly better known as XAircraft. The list includes both flying drones and cycling robots with autonomous control. Everyone should make field work easier and more automated. There is even information that a drone can replace 100 people.

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The company has now set up a 5 million yuan special fund to curb the epidemic. The program plans to use XPlanet drones and R80 robots to treat areas and reduce the risk of virus transmission from contact with an infected surface.

As part of this battle, a total of 370 teams will be working on areas with 2,600 pieces of equipment. The work is being carried out in 20 provinces in China.

Copters and their pilots.

Of course, this is the only way to destroy the virus, but it helps. Drones are supposed to replace people who use special sprayers to manage the area. Below we will discuss other replacement options, which by the way are not many.

Since such systems were originally developed to automatically move and spray special liquids and to be able to position with an accuracy of a few meters, they should really help with this difficult task. First of all, they have to deal with the locations of potential infection and waste collection points.

Thanks to highly developed software, such drones can be grouped together, exchange information about the treated areas and thus work in automatic mode without interfering but helping each other. If you know which area has already been treated by a drone, the other will not process it, nor will it "follow its own trail" and give off more substance than the program offers. All of this means that reagent consumption is reduced by 20 percent, which is not at all small on such a scale. And since a drone can disinfect up to 600-700,000 square meters of territory a day, it becomes clear what the army of such devices is capable of.

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Of course there are places where quadrocopters cannot fly. In such places, the R80 robots just work and remind a little of robot dogs on wheels. They are relatively small to overcome bottlenecks and have a circular spray system.

This is what the XAG R80 looks like.

It is worth noting that drones do not irrigate the surface with liquid, but spray it, in order to cover the entire cultivated area more completely. As a result, it is distributed more evenly because it mixes with the humidity when it is set down.

Experiments were even carried out to clarify whether the helicopter could help ground services in their work. For this purpose, he was given the task of editing a police car that he successfully coped with, hovered over the car, and performed the editing. The inspection showed that 99.8 percent of the surface was treated. The only question is what to do with the floor. R80?

Similar demonstrations took place in other locations. For example in schools, in parking lots and directly in front of the door. Everywhere drones and robots showed a very good side and gave hope that they can be used not only in the fields, but also in the fight against global disasters (biological and chemical).

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Why you can't use drones to deal with disasters

Now it's time to dream a little and imagine how things will develop in the event of a collision with something really serious. With what is shown in catastrophe films when people only need one breath to die or turn into a zombie.

Suppose there is a task to clear the area by treating it with special means. The drone was loaded, filled, sent, and he flew to accomplish his task. At some point the battery will be empty and it will have to return to recharge or replace it. At this point, the person must contact them and put themselves at risk.

Every drone needs maintenance. But how does it work if it's infected?

There is no information on how the drones' rapid charging and refueling system is implemented, but it has to be invented. In theory, everything should be built on the basis of other robots that replace the batteries and fill the tanks. Suppose a system is implemented in the spirit of what's in robotic vacuum cleaners when it arrives and charges at the base itself. This is possible, but the fact that the system works quickly and clearly, although it's hard to believe.

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This is because drones that are used to irrigate fields initially work under completely different conditions. The field is flat, clean and generally of the right shape. Most importantly, drone maintenance should be carried out in comfortable conditions during such operations without endangering the life and health of the operator.

The city and the open field are completely different operating conditions.

Based on the above, it seems to me (and not only) that the situation is a PR, based on a difficult situation in the world and people's fears. In reality, you can do a lot easier. To spray substances, you can use helicopters or airplanes, which are also used in agriculture, but can take up significantly more material and work with less efficiency. In addition, aircraft that are suitable for such tasks are small and can take off from almost any flat surface. Well, the risks for the pilot will not be greater than for the drone operator who will fill up. You can still drive cars with pressurized cabins, but under the conditions of the city, they won't go anywhere.

As the development of technology to promote such ideas, it sounds good, and such aerial coverage will certainly not be superfluous, but why now and under such conditions? More like a story about attempts to save humanity with a shovel.

A video clip that shows how a helicopter is filled with medical cargo and sent 700 km from the starting point to Wuhan creates even more confidence in the advertising characteristics of what is happening. It is a very difficult task to cover such a distance for a loaded helicopter.

It also shows too colorfully how it flies over the city. And the last nail is the end of this video, in which a man without a mask sits and flies in this drone and enjoys the view. That said, the main message was how comfortable it is to fly with such things.

You can refer to it in different ways, and I think everyone will express their opinion on the subject in the comments, but everything looks too cute. It is like showing a volcanic eruption that you can walk on cooling lava in “our new welder boots”. The comparison may be somewhat abstract, but you understand the essentials.