Story at a glance

  • The Alabama State Senate is using a drone system to detect potential COVID-19 in government buildings.
  • The technology can measure the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rates of people on the ground anonymously.
  • A similar system is being used at Alabama State University along with a novel pathogen and virus sanitizer.

Like it or not, there’s a new normal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Face masks, temperature checks, all in the name of public health and safety. Now, Alabama government workers are adapting to yet another presence: drones.

The Alabama State Senate recently adopted the Draganfly Smart Vital System, a screening system that can detect potential COVID-19 cases by taking contactless temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate readings. Those at risk will then be tested, allowing the state to minimize the spread of coronavirus in government buildings. 


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“As the current pandemic continues, we are committed to provide a safe place for our staff and visitors to ensure there is no interruption in the work that needs to be done for the citizens of Alabama,” said Pat Harris, Secretary of the Alabama State Senate. “We are confident that the implementation of Draganfly’s Vital Intelligence Technology will help to ensure an important layer to existing protocols that assist us in identifying and mitigating the risk of the spread of COVID-19.” 

Alabama State University became one of the first to employ the screening system in September, as coronavirus outbreaks closed several colleges and universities. In addition to fixed stations that students and others on campus could opt into, the university used its drone technology to disinfect surfaces in its athletic stadiums and arenas with a pathogen and virus sanitizer made by Varigard. 


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“We originally developed the technology to work on drones, but where we’ve really seen traction is in fixed space cameras and even on cell phones for telemedicine,” Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell said in an interview with FOX Business at the time. 

Similar technology has raised concerns about privacy, but the system does not collect any personal information, according to the company. 

"There's no personalized data involved at all. It doesn't do any facial recognition,” Chell assured FOX. 

In fact, the technology was originally developed to help identify survivors in disaster relief and monitor the health of wildlife in crisis areas. Here’s how it works:


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Published on Jan 12, 2021