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Aus researchers developing ‘pandemic drones’ to detect COVID-19

Aus researchers developing ‘pandemic drones’ to detect COVID-19
March 27
10:41 2020

CANBERRA: A team from the University of South Australia (UniSA), led by an Indian-origin researcher, have begun developing a drone to monitor patients with infectious respiratory conditions including the novel coronavirus.

The “pandemic drones” will be fitted with a sensor capable of remotely monitoring a person’s temperature as well as heart and respiratory rates, reports Xinhua news agency. It will also be able to detect people who are exhibiting symptoms such as coughing and sneezing in offices, cruise ships, airports, aged care homes and places with the highest risk of transmission.

The project is being led by Indian-origin researcher Javaan Chahl, the chair of Sensor Systems within the Department of Defence, who holds a joint appointment with UniSA. He said the technology was initially developed for use in war zones and natural disaster zones to monitor the heart rates of premature babies but could now be vital in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“It might not detect all cases, but it could be a reliable tool to detect the presence of the disease in a place or in a group of people,” Chahl said in a media release. UniSA has partnered with a drone technology company, to optimize the technology and deploy it to government, medical and commercial customers. 

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