The future for contactless product delivery is already here, and a pandemic seems to already be moving this trend forward. It just needs companies to implement and customers to accept the new delivery and tracking methods, along with other innovations, that will make this so. When this happens, we may one day look back and quietly thank the lowly coronavirus for catapulting us into a brighter future. One of the more iconic images from the early days of this disease comes from late March 2020, during San Francisco's citywide coronavirus lockdown, when "aspiring drone racing pilot" David Chen delivered a single roll of much-needed toilet paper to his friend Ian Chan in another part of the city. Chan captured the delivery on video and posted it to his Twitter feed, which ironically went viral.
Four years ago, Alameda County, California's purchase of two drones for use by law enforcement was controversial. Now, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department has six drones, and their use is routine. So said Tom Madigan, a commander at the Alameda Sheriff's Office, to drone industry representatives and other law enforcement officials gathered at Drone World Expo in San Jose, Calif., last week. The Alameda County drone program has been fully operational for only about two years, Madigan said. In that time, he indicated, the Alameda Sheriff's Office has flown drones 700 times as part of 175 real-world missions, including search and rescue, fire scene surveillance, homicide scene analysis, and providing eyes in the sky during high-risk tactical operations.
Health experts analyze the Spanish Flu, Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu and swine flus of 1976 and 2009 in a special hosted by Harris Faulkner. Some police departments in California plan on using drones to enforce a coronavirus lockdown and to, in part, monitor the homeless population, according to a report on Friday. The Chula Vista Police Department, located just south of San Diego near the California-Mexico border, recently purchased two $11,000 drones -- doubling its fleet -- that will be outfitted with speakers and night vision cameras. "We have not traditionally mounted speakers to our drones, but ... if we need to cover a large area to get an announcement out, or if there were a crowd somewhere that we needed to disperse -- we could do it without getting police officers involved," said Capt. The Chula Vista Police Department plans on using drones to enforce a coronavirus lockdown.
The UK government is to fund a trial of drone-based deliveries of blood and other medical supplies in Tanzania. The goal is to radically reduce the amount of time it takes to send stock to health clinics in the African nation by road or other means. The scheme involves Zipline, a Silicon Valley start-up that began running a similar service in Rwanda in October. Experts praised that initiative but cautioned that "cargo drones" are still of limited use to humanitarian bodies. The Department for International Development (Dfid) has not said how much money will be invested in the Tanzanian effort or for how long.