Westport utilizes pandemic drone to test for COVID-19 symptoms

Lia Chen '20, Paper A&E Editor

Westport will be the first town in Connecticut to use drones to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as part of their “Flatten the Curve Pilot Program” announced on Tuesday. The drones will be able to detect COVID-19 symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and fevers from up to 190 feet away using a specialized sensor and computer vision systems, according to Draganfly, the drones’ manufacturer.
“This pandemic has opened up a new frontier and urgent need for the use of drones,” Police Chief Foti Koskinas said. “Using drones remains a go-to technology for reaching remote areas with little to no manpower required. Because of this technology, our officers will have the information and quality data they need to make the best decision in any given situation.”
The drones will also be able to monitor social distancing measures in public places including beaches, train stations, parks and recreation areas and shopping centers. The data can be used to protect at-risk groups such as the elderly.
“The Westport Police Department is one of the most progressive public safety agencies in the nation and real pioneers when it comes to adopting and integrating new technology to enhance the safety of their citizens and first responders,” said Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly.