Why should drones follow people at night

Monitoring for Covid-19 : Drones are also monitoring the corona measures in Germany

"Sometimes birds attack the drones," reports Didier Lallement, spokesman for the Paris police. Otherwise, the flight operations function without any disruptions. "Drones do not replace police officers, but they help us to collect information."

The small aircraft circling over the boulevards and squares of the French metropolis and other cities such as Nice, also to monitor exit restrictions. “Pay attention to the safe distance” or “Only leave the house if it is absolutely necessary”, are the loudspeaker messages.

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The French police are not alone. Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and other EU countries are also using drones in the corona crisis, as are India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and, of course, China.

Videos from the People's Republic of drones asking passers-by to go home or to wear masks became an internet hit in February. Today there are recordings like this from half the world.

Threatening with disinfectant

Depending on the equipment of the drone, they fly over streets and squares and send images to the police, who then evaluate them - partly automated with an AI or manually. Loudspeakers, often retrofitted, can also make announcements and provide information about exit restrictions, for example.

The video from China also attracted attention because the drone pilot apparently targeted individual people. Most of the time, however, the announcements are automated and sound in a continuous loop. Some models are also equipped with sprinklers and can spray disinfectants. This is shown, for example, by photos from Indian slums.

Drones also fly in Germany

The use of technology polarizes. In Great Britain, the police have been sharply criticized in the past few days for handling the drone images. For example, recordings were published that show strollers and were marked with the note “not essential” - a kind of digital lockdown pillory. The police warned that anyone who gets caught on “unnecessary” trips will have to pay a fine of up to £ 1,000.

In Germany, the likelihood of spotting a drone in Corona operation is extremely low. However, the first federal states are testing the technology. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the police in Dortmund and Düsseldorf are using their drones - "also to provide information about the health risks in the event of non-compliance with the ban on contact," as a spokesman for the Interior Ministry confirmed to Tagesspiegel Background.

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“Smaller groups of people were asked to leave their places at popular meeting points via loudspeakers built into the drones,” it continues. The operational experience with the drones is positive.

Bavaria has the aircraft take off in order to observe the traffic jams caused by the introduced border controls: "Currently, drones are used to assess the situation as in the backlog areas at the borders as a supplement to the helicopter," said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. "Loudspeaker announcements, however, are not made with drones."

Berlin only has two drones

Other federal states, on the other hand, are currently not planning any Corona missions in the air. “The enforcement of the ordinance is about quick, present action. This can be ensured primarily through physical patrols, ”says Baden-Württemberg, for example. It sounds something similar in Berlin: “Controls of the containment measures are always carried out in person by the police forces deployed.” However, the police currently only has two drones available - in total. Hamburg, actually a pioneer in inner-city drone flights, is also declining. A corona use is not being considered, according to the interior authorities.

In Asia in particular, transport drones are also taking over deliveries during the corona crisis - for example medicines, so that older people do not have to make their way to the pharmacy. Hospitals in China are also sometimes supplied in this way: Drones are often faster than delivery vans.

“The transport of rapid tests and many other medical products would also be conceivable. The possible uses are complex and could bring great relief and save lives for millions of people, ”said Gernot-Rüdiger Engel to Tagesspiegel Background. The lawyer at Luther's office is a member of the drone advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI).

“In this exceptional situation, drones could provide support in solving the extreme supply problems. I am thinking of drone flights with urgently needed goods right up to the living room window without a supplier carrying germs into the four walls at home, ”says Engel. But while the police are allowed to use drones, it is not that easy for suppliers.

The first use of drones in the health sector has shown that "especially in urban areas, there are legal hurdles and the regulatory framework in Germany is often even tighter than the EU regulations for drones require," says Cornelia Yzer, at Luther responsible for health care. Even a disaster would change that little.

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