Like it or not, the surveillance state is being ushered in under cover of the pandemic. Coming soon to the skies of Westport, Connecticut, are "pandemic drones" that will hunt for COVID-19 carriers. These special drones have thermal optic sensors blended with artificial intelligence that can detect if a person is feverish and or sneezes or coughs. If the drones detect a possible virus carrier, the drone operator will be alerted and dispatch police to the suspect's location.
Westport Police Department are set to test pandemic drones as part of their "Flatten the Curve Pilot Program," read a press release via US-based Draganfly, the company behind the drones.
The release states each drone is outfitted with specialized sensors and computer vision systems that can fly around cities and detect if people have elevated body temperatures, respiratory rates, as well as to identify if people are sneezing and coughing (all signs of a COVID-19 carrier).
"One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread," said Westport First Selectman, Jim Marpe. "One way to do this is to look for underlying symptoms."
Westport is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, a region walloped by the pandemic. As of Thursday morning, the state has recorded 22,469 cases and 1,544 deaths.
Police said the goal of the program is to monitor the population better and search for potential at-risk people when the economy reopens. The drones are expected to monitor public areas where mass gatherings are generally seen, including train stations, parks, shopping districts, and beaches. Sensors on the drone can detect "infectious conditions from a distance of 190 feet as well as measure social distancing for proactive public safety practices," the company said.
"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.
"This coronavirus pandemic has opened up a new frontier for advanced drones. In conjunction with our partners, including the town of Westport, together we are the first in the U.S. to implement this state-of-the-art technology to analyze data in a way that has been peer reviewed and clinically researched to save lives."
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