Drons vs. Virus

While public transport, taxi services, and airlines are suffering enormous losses due to the pandemic, the unmanned vehicle industry is growing rapidly. Autonomous vans are used to deliver vital supplies, while unmanned air taxis are transporting doctors and medicines.

No Driver Needed

As soon as the world was locked down, we faced an explosive demand for unmanned goods and passengers transportation, both by ground and by air. Startup drone producers of all kinds immediately came back to life, although two or three months ago, many of them were barely making ends meet. The situation is developing naturally: Drones help to minimize physical contacts partially compensating for the lack of labor force caused by the lockdown.

A case in point is Neolix, a Chinese startup producing unmanned vans. In 2019, the company produced a total of 125 units of equipment, and over the past two months it has received orders for more than 200 vans at once. Today, Neolix drones are already actively used by such delivery monsters as Alibaba, Meituan Dianping and others. And besides, they are used to disinfect streets and deliver food to emergency personnel.

Recently, the unmanned food delivery service was approved in the United States, the American road safety services not raising any objections.

APROPOS

VIRUS CONSEQUENCES

London, Great Britain:
  • the subway passenger traffic has decreased by 50%;
  • 40 out of 270 subway stations have been closed;
  • the bus passenger traffic has decreased by 40%;
  • travel intervals for all types of urban transport have been increased.

Beijing, China:
  • the stricter measures of common areas and subway cars disinfection have been introduced;
  • the car ventilation requirements have been increased.

Slovenia:
  • the public transport operation has been completely suspended;
  • the only transport means available in the country cities are private cars or taxis.

The Red Cross and The Crescent

Apparently, the Chinese company EHang producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is destined to success. They were expected to only be used as air taxis. However, in March, EHang drones were involved in anti-epidemiological training organized by the Hezhou City authorities and established themselves as an excellent ambulance. Thus, the company opened up new perspectives.

A freight EHang vehicle successfully delivered medicines to a local hospital 4 km away from the dispatch point. And EHang Strategy Director Edward Xu used a passenger UAV for a 4-kilometer flight showing that his drones are good for transporting both medicines and medical personnel.
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