According to thenextweb.com, Aerospace firm, Draganfly, announced this week that test flights for its “pandemic drones” were conducted in Westport, Connecticut, a hotspot for covid-19 following a private party where dozens of people were exposed to the virus. Draganfly say Westport will use the tech to protect at-risk groups, such as seniors and crowds gathering in public places.
These “pandemic drones” are fitted with sensors and computer vision systems that measure body temperature, breathing, and heart rates from up to 190 feet. They can also spot if someone’s sneezing, coughing, or following social distancing rules.
Westport Police Lieutenant Anthony Prezioso told local news outlet, Patch, that the tests had been going on for “approximately the last five days.” He commented, “It is anticipated that this will continue to be in effect through the summer months of July and August as we anticipate the need to continue to work to reinforce social distancing measures in order to limit and control the spread of the coronavirus.”
Draganfly has made a big effort to allay concerns that measures to contain the coronavirus are expanding the surveillance state. The company claims its software uses biometric readings but no facial recognition and that all the data it collects is anonymised.
“The system does not collect individualized data. The system does not identify people,” explained Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell. “The system takes population samples and provides this anonymized data to our public safety officials so that we can have clear data giving us an indication of population health, and allowing our official to make decisions based on real data.”
The company also has an eye on any future pandemics.
Chell continued, “This system, and our work with public safety officials, is so important, because never again do we want to be in a situation where we’re having to make such drastic guesses for such tremendous decisions that affect not just human lives, but also the economy and the world population.” Adding, “These types of decisions can’t be made in retrospect — they have to be made in real-time.”
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