Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on almost every aspect of the daily lives of people, ingenuity finds a way. Given the highly-transmissible nature of SARS-CoV-2, many businesses and essential services have been affected. With public health authorities enforcing strict measures such as social distancing and self-isolation, forward-thinking individuals are coming up with unique solutions. One notable proposal is the development of a remote-operated drone that can efficiently sanitise a stadium in approximately three hours.

According to the Aeras Fog Company – a Wexford, Pittsburgh-based startup – the process relies on electrostatic technology. Businessmen Nick Brucker, Justin Melanson, and Eric Loyd are behind this innovate project which hopes to quickly and safely disinfect large spaces. With healthcare experts suggesting that the health crisis will not be ending anytime soon, discovering unique approaches are making a huge difference.

In an interview with one of the co-founders, he stated: "If this wasn't going to be something that's going away in a short period of time, there needs to be a solution to get people back to the things they enjoy doing." Due to evidence that the 2019 novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces for certain periods of time, sanitisation must be thorough. Therefore, the drones use a cutting-edge system to deliver an electrostatic charge before the chemical is dispersed through the nozzles.

This purportedly allows the disinfectant to coat more surfaces. "There's no room for human error where somebody might miss something. This drone doesn't miss anything," says Melanson as reported by CBS 2. It is capable of covering up to 20 acres per hour and people can safely occupy the treated areas three minutes after.

"We're really excited about the peace of mind this technology has the potential to provide," shared Lloyd in a press release. "Everyone's wondering when they'll be able to attend a sporting event or live concert safely, or when it will be safe for children and staff to return to school. We believe that, by overcoming one of the major challenges associated with these activities, Aeras will help bring us all closer to sharing these experiences again."

Drone navigation
Using NanoMap, even small drones can navigate obstacle-ridden environments at a constant speed of 20mph MIT/CSAIL

The drones manufactured by the group are now undergoing certification from regulators. Once it has been approved for commercial use, it is estimated to be ready around fall. In related reports, there is a remarkable upsurge of drone usage amid the pandemic to reduce human contact and prevent unnecessary transmission.