Drones in Disease Prevention

Image source: http://geekongadgets.com/2016/09/23/the-rise-of-the-drone-craze/

What are drones?

"An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator, or fully or intermittently autonomously, by onboard computers. Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too "dull, dirty or dangerous" for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, and other applications, such as policing and surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography, agriculture, smuggling, and drone racing. Civilian drones now vastly outnumber military drones, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015, so they can be seen as an early commercial application of Autonomous Things, to be followed by the autonomous car and home robots."

The introduction above is cited from Wikipedia, and it reminds us the possible uses of drones in the prevention disease. There are many advantage of using drones dealing with zoonotic diseases, and there are already examples of researchers doing researches using low-cost drones.

Why drones?

    * Safe for workers
    * Remote and precise control
    * High efficiency
    * Economicly available
    * Huge variaty to choose from

Drones Record How The Environment Shapes Disease Risk

Click on the title to see the full passage from Conservation Magzine.

Here is an example of researchers using drones to study zoonotic disease. A group of researchers used drones to help them study the the complex interaction between environment and the spread of infectious zoonotic diseases. The drones are fast enough to document rapid changes, which benefits the preventions and controling of the zoonotic diseases like malaria and ebola. The drone they used could fly fifty minutes at a time, which could generate the previews of the photos in real time, and the full data processing from a single flight can be completed in a few hours. The researchers could combine the aerial imagery with GPS data, and this information allowed them to make better predictions as to disease risk and the spread of infection. By using drone-taken pictures the researchers could avoid the covering of clouds, and the pictures taken by drones could also reflect the changes in land in reald time (which is a big advantage over the GPS photos). Another similar study could be found at BioMed Central.

Image from Conservation Magzine