USE Network launch I UAV Works VALAQ l Cable harnesses l USVs insight l Xponential 2020 update l MARIN AUV l Suter Industries TOA 288 l Vitirover l AI systems l Vtrus ABI

98 PS | Unmanned systems in pandemics U nmanned and automated vehicles ought to be valuable tools in the effort to prevent the spread of contagious and infectious diseases such as Covid-19, because they can deliver vital packages while eliminating direct contact between people from the process (writes Peter Donaldson). They can also go into potentially contaminated buildings to spray them with disinfectants to kill pathogens at the heart of the pandemic. However, there is a chance that the vehicles themselves can become contaminated and act as vectors for the pathogens, putting the people who operate them at risk. Potential solutions to these problems are in the works though. For example, drone services and pilot management company DroneUp announced in April that it has teamed up with partners on a set of tests to determine how UAV systems can help medical professionals stop the spread of the virus. Partnered with DroneUp are UPS and its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward, Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology and Workhorse Group, which offers an end-to-end delivery system that includes the Horsefly quadcopter integrated into its electric delivery vans and the Metron telematics app. Carried out on the vacant campus of St Paul’s College, in Lawrenceville, Virginia, the tests focused on deliveries to residential and commercial areas. The aim was to determine safe operational capacities based on existing technologies, policies, personnel and environmental restrictions, along with airspace deconfliction and operator safety policies, as well as the processes, policies and training needed to conduct delivery operations by day and night. They also developed proposals for changes in policy that would enable expanded use of these technologies. For decontaminating indoor areas, French company Delta Drone has launched the SafeSprayBot, which combines a UGV with a spray system on a mast and a quadcopter drone acting as a stabilisation system. The SafeSprayBot is an adaptation of the Countbot warehouse inventory system developed by logistics specialist Geodis and Delta Drone, incorporating spraying technology from Aero41 in Switzerland. The UGV’s control system is loaded with a complete map of each building interior including all possible paths so that it can follow its trajectories without human intervention. The mast is articulated and adjustable to suit each site while avoiding collisions with the building’s structural elements and equipment such as girders and lighting fixtures. The high-precision spray nozzles ensure regulated multi-directional delivery of decontaminant chemicals. To clean the UAVs themselves, Flymotion offers its Drone Decontamination Kit, developed to remove contaminants without damaging sensitive equipment. The kit includes Dalgren Decon solution, electrostatic sprayers, cleaning pads, line markers, chemical glow sticks and collapsible buckets for decontamination media. Another fortuitous development is waterproof UAVs from companies such as Quad, whose H20 series includes models that can fly in rain and snow and operate over, on and even under water. The same waterproof qualities that enable this are also likely to keep contaminants out of its internals, make it easier to remove them from the exterior and prevent damage during decontamination. Together, these developments could make unmanned systems extremely useful in the struggle against Covid-19 and any future pandemics. Now, here’s a thing “ ” June/July 2020 | Unmanned Systems Technology Waterproof UAVs are likely to be able to keep contaminants out of their internals, making it easy to clean them and prevent damage