United Arab Emirates deploys drones to sanitize the country



Lena Felton

Lena Felton is a multiplatform editor at The Lily.
Previously, she was a politics editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Drones were deployed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the fight against the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus, named COVID-19 has been spreading like wildfire across the globe and measures to safely and successfully combat this global health hazard called for creative solutions.

Drones guarantee limited contact, by which the virus is transmitted, and yield fast and efficient results. The avail of drones was first adopted in Wuhan, China the world’s epicentre of the virus. It gave Chinese officials the ability to send and retrieve medical equipment and samples, monitor citizens to ensure no one broke quarantine guidelines and sanitize the streets. They went as far as attaching the flying motors with thermal cameras to scan crowds and identify those who might need medical treatment.

Like the UAE, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country used drones to spray crowded urban areas with disinfectant.

French police also tested the prospect of surveillance drones to locate anyone breaking the country’s confinement laws, while police in Madrid, one the most impacted cities in Europe, used drones with speakers to disperse gatherings and order people to return home.

This sudden rise of drones raised questions on how the impact of these kinds of solutions will have on the world after the situation comes to an end.

The turbo-speed technology is moving toward was already a matter of apprehension among those concerned with surveillance, human rights and privacy issues.

While the application of surveillance drones in Wuhan, and possible adoption in Europe, was a response to a health crisis, it showcases that these tools can be used for purposes not in the best interest of the public.

Social distance or new norm?

COVID-19 forced an estimated 1.7 billion people of the planet’s population to isolation. Health professional’s advice to maintain a safe distance with others and avoid leaving homes unless for absolute necessity allowed the manifestation of a futuristic fantasy, we only saw in movies to become a reality.

Online schools, Zoom meetings, facetime birthday parties, drones delivering everything you need right to your doorsteps.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones market is expected to grow to USD 48.88 Billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets, with commercial drones expected to hold the largest market share.

Even finding love was made possible with these gadgets.

A New York photographer went viral after he asked his neighbour on a date during quarantine. How?

With a drone.

His video documenting the whole shenanigan was viewed more than eight million times so far, and while the endeavour is heart-warming, it gives an insight on how these devices will shape our social interactions and lives in general. It poses questions about human welfare and rights.

But mainly, when we are free to roam the earth again, will we?



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